Breath-taking Messam relieved

Getty Images     16 Sep 2013     Getty Images

Messam was almost charged at by hooker Bismarck du Plessis' elbow as the Springboks were on attack. The Springbok was penalised for what was a shot in Messam's windpipe that left the flanker gasping for air.

"I was worried for a bit because I couldn't breathe," said Messam.

"It wasn't sore. At the time I couldn't breathe, I thought I was going to choke."

After receiving medical attention the flanker was virtually good as new as the hosts downed a physical South Africa side 29-15 to claim top spot in the Rugby Championship and the Freedom Cup at Eden Park on Saturday.

Messam didn't talk about the incident too much. He saw it as more of a work-on for his tackling techniques as he played his first match in five weeks.

"It was a physical game, it always is," Messam added. "The last four or five weeks I've had a great opportunity to get the body right. It was tough on the lungs but I'm better for it."

Conquering a physical South Africa side would only happen if the All Blacks were to play with one way – to fight fire with fire.

With another match between the two sides to play, Ellis Park hosts the All Blacks on October 6 (NZT), Messam said matching the physicality and intensity of their opponents would unlock a treasured victory in Johannesburg.

The match was also a milestone for Messam ahead of the Test as he led his side in the haka ahead of kick-off.

He revealed he had known about the duties since the team was named but was cautiously on standby as he had pulled a hamstring.