The New Zealand rugby sevens coach Gordon Tietjens says All Black Liam Messam's leadership and experience will be invaluable after confirming the Chiefs flanker as Adam Thompson's replacement for the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Thompson is out for the rest of the year after suffering a knee injury playing for Otago in the ITM Cup.
Messam's departure is a blow to Waikato's ITM Cup title push with winger Tim Mickleson also heading to Delhi - but New Zealand captain DJ Forbes is happy to welcome Messam back.
Forbes played 25 minutes in his Counties-Manukau side's defeat of Northland at Pukekohe on Sunday as he continues his return to full fitness from a groin strain.
The Steelers' 40-24 win has leapfrogged them above the Taniwha into eighth place, just a win behind the second to fourth placed Canterbury, Auckland and Taranaki. Southland remain top.
Tietjens' squad assemble on Wednesday for several days of training and fitness tests and fly to Dubai on Friday before heading to Delhi next week.