Messer determined to make the most of his chance
LOUIS MESSER is determined to take his second chance of a career in professional rugby.
As a youngster the full-back was on Bath's books.
He spent three years in their academy set-up, including a season on loan at Bridgwater, before a cruciate knee ligament injury made him re-evaluate his priorities.
While out injured, Messer decided he needed to get some education behind him and so opted to go to university.
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However, after graduating with a degree in sports coaching from the UWIC (University of Wales Institute Cardiff) in the summer, Messer has again returned to professional rugby by signing for Albion.
The 23-year-old now wants to make the most of the opportunity Nat Saumi has granted him.
"I am just excited about the season," Messer told Herald Sport.
"It has been a long, long summer for me personally with dissertations and so on and graduation.
"I have been studying at UWIC.
"I was at Bath for three years and then went from there to UWIC for three years.
"I thought I would focus on a bit of study but I went to UWIC particularly because they have a professional approach to rugby. They play in a Saturday and a Wednesday league and it is very, very competitive.
"I wanted to stay fit and involved in rugby as I knew I wanted to give it another crack after my studies.
"But education was at the forefront for me for a certain time after having a big injury."
Messer, who played for England Students alongside Albion fly-half Paul Roberts, added: "I did my ACL at Bath. I did it in my last season there. I just spent nearly all of that season out. I was young and all I wanted to do was run around and play rugby and I did not realise realistically that you need an education behind you. But now I have got all my education out of the way and now I am here."
Messer, who hopes to one day become a teacher, is loving life at Brickfields.
"It is everything I could ask for," he said. "The club have been amazing since I've been here.
"The boys have been fantastic and the coaching staff are second to none."
Messer never made Bath's first team and, although, he has been playing international student rugby, he admits the Championship is going to be a challenge for him.
"It is going to be a big step up for me personally," he said.
"Training has been hard and there is excellent competition.
"I just want to get a bit of game time to try and prove that I can make the step up. I certainly believe I can."
He played centre for England Students, but Messer says the number 15 shirt is definitely the one he wants.
"I only played centre for the students last year," he said. "Full-back is where I prefer to play. I just feel a bit more comfortable back there. You get a bit more time on the ball.
"I just feel a lot easier in that role than playing just outside 10 where it can get a bit crowded.
"I feel I am definitely a full-back, but if I have to play in the centre, I will play in the centre no problem if it helps the team out."
Messer is certainly a positive person who has big goals.
When asked what his ambition is, he said: "To succeed here really and get into that top four and in those play-offs."
He added: "There is no point going to a team who are like 'we'll be all right, we'll be middle table'. We are aiming to get up there. That is our ambition. So my goal at the moment is to play for Plymouth and get us high up in that league as we can."