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Liam Messam gets a taste of Toulon

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    17 Sep 2018     Getty Images

The former Chiefs loose forward told Midi Olympique that having played in some of the great rugby stadiums of the world, playing his first game at Mayol, he was surprised by the reception the side received, even when doing their warm-ups.

"The public are much more discreet in New Zealand. Even if Waikato Stadium is the best stadium of them all for me, because it is my home ground and has great supporters, it didn't compare with what I experienced here," he said.

"It's great to play in an atmosphere like that. We play rugby to live these kind of moments."

Messam made the moment even more special by scoring a try four minutes into the game.

"I was just in the right place at the right time. I was happy though because I haven't scored much in the past two years. It felt good to turn the meter on again," he said.

Beating Castres was unexpected after recent losses suffered by Toulon. But Messam said luck hadn't been with them in their games but once their errors had been sorted out Toulon would be a force.

"Everything will be better and Toulon will return soon as a dangerous side, trust me. I'm really excited to see the season continue with each player reaching their full potential. My teammates have also said there is no reason to panic as the season is very long," he said.

Messam said he knew what he was getting into when signing with the club. Toulon was a side with great pride, a long history and a great track record. That meant there was always pressure on to perform.

"But I also understand that the group has been thoroughly overhauled in the off season with 16 departures while there is also new staff. That's a lot.

"I've always been very demanding on myself and with others about the work ethic. I'm glad to see that everyone here shares it. This work was evident in the last minutes of the match when the team was able to find the resources to snatch a win," he said.

Coach Patrice Collazo was also new with the side and Messam enjoyed his approach which was similar to what he had experienced in Super Rugby.

That style of game suited him perfectly and it was just a matter of time before the Toulon regulars assimilated the plan and got comfortable with it.

While not looking too far ahead, Messam said he was looking to play Stade Francais in Paris but generally he didn't think too much about the opposition.

"We have so much work to do here that I prefer to concentrate on things we can control as a team and I can't wait until the next weekend," he said.