Rugby World Cup
Messam to farewell All Blacks at World Cup
ESPN Staff
August 31, 2015
Liam Messam is ready to say good by to the All Blacks jersey after the Rugby World Cup © Getty Images

Liam Messam says his commitment to sevens rugby next year means the World Cup will almost certainly be his All Blacks swansong. Sonny Bill Williams isn't so sure.

The Chiefs team-mates and good friends were the only two New Zealand players to forego their Super Rugby contracts in 2016 to pursue a place in the All Blacks Sevens team to compete at the Rio Olympics. Blindside flanker Messam, 31, told NZ Newswire the World Cup in September and October is set to bring down the curtain on an eight-year Test career.

"It probably will, although I don't want to go into details. My major goal was to be at this World Cup, it's why I've competed for the last four years, to be here. Next year will take care of itself."

Williams, 30, was typically coy when asked the same question about the impact of his sevens hiatus. The powerful second five-eighth says he still enjoys living year to year as a professional sportsman and hasn't looked beyond Rio.

"My mindset after the World Cup is only that I'd love to be part of the sevens squad," he said. "At this stage for me, it's just worrying about today, tomorrow, next week and trying to play my best footy for the All Blacks at the World Cup."

Former New Zealand heavyweight boxing champion Williams went close to a commitment when he said a return to the ring was "probably not" on his agenda for the foreseeable future. Messam has previously been linked with a club stint in Japan, which would follow Williams' pathway for 2012. However, his sevens contract has put paid to that in the short term.

In the meantime, he was simply relieved to make the cut for the World Cup, with a mixed season having put the 42-Test forward's selection in some doubt. He was one of the unlucky omissions from the 2011 squad, creating natural motivation for the next four years.

"I've never forgotten what happened that day. It's something that sits in your belly and keeps you going and keeps you fired up."


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