Messam refreshed and ready for action
Returning blindside flanker Liam Messam felt for the man he replaced, the injured Jerome Kaino, for Saturday's second Bledisloe Cup/Investec Rugby Championship Test against Australia in Auckland.
While Kaino's elbow injury ruled him out of consideration, Messam didn't see that as increasing his own chances of stamping his mark on the position.
Kaino was a good friend, he said, and no-one liked to see a team-mate suffer an injury that could keep him out of action for up to six weeks.
Messam said he wouldn't be going out on the field to try and be someone he wasn't in order to impress the selectors.
They knew well enough what he was capable of and it was just a case of him doing his own job well.
Messam said he was very refreshed after five weeks off from playing and while he expected his lungs might be burning after 20 minutes of play he was looking forward to it.
While more senior players like skipper Richie McCaw and Dan Carter got to have six-month sabbaticals, he only got a five-week sabbatical, he said.
"I've been through hell with my body over the last three years and I enjoyed it, but it has been good having those five weeks," he said.
He had been champing at the bit, he said, and having to constantly remind himself to pull his enthusiasm back in training this week so he didn't play himself out too soon.
It had been hard having to watch and not be in a position to contribute to the team but it was a case of trusting the plan the medicos and coaching staff had put in place for him.
"It's probably been a blessing in disguise as I feel really refreshed and ready to go," he said.
And while he hadn't been waking up with the usual aches and pains from a lack of play, he was looking forward to getting back amongst the more physical side of playing, even if it did mean waking up sore on Sunday morning.
"I've just go to go out there and do my job, the boys are pretty sparked up for the weekend and set to bounce back really well from a frustrating game on Saturday. It's been a good week so far and the three that have come in don't have to do anything special, we've just got to go out there and do our job," he said.