October 4 - Jerome Kaino returns to New Zealand
A star whilst still at Auckland’s St Kentigern College, Jerome Kaino went on help New Zealand win the 2004 Under 21 World Championship and was named iRB Under 21 player of the year. He made his All Black debut against the Barbarians later in 2004. A form slump in 2006 saw him lose his place for a season. He was back as an All Black in 2008 and cemented his place over the next four seasons. Kaino was one of THE stars of the 2011 Rugby World Cup and a nominee for the 2011 iRB player of the year award. In 2012 he left for a two year contract with Japanese club Panasonic. But his career in New Zealand was not yet over.
“ALL BLACKS.COM 04 OCT. 2013
Rugby World Cup champion and All Black and Blues hero Jerome Kaino is coming home.
The 48-Test All Black has been contracted to play with the Blues and be available for the All Blacks in 2014 and 2015, New Zealand Rugby and the Blues announced today.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew welcomed Kaino’s return as great news for New Zealand rugby.
“Jerome has already proven he is a world class player, so having him back is certainly an exciting development.
“After losing Jerome to Japan two years ago, the All Blacks have worked hard to build depth in that position, and we have seen outstanding performances from the players who have stepped up to the role.
“Jerome’s return will only intensify the contest for the black jersey even more.”
“On a general level, Jerome remains a hero for many New Zealand rugby fans, so we are delighted that they will get to see him play his rugby in New Zealand again.
Blues Head Coach Sir John Kirwan said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Jerome back to the Blues. He’s a fantastic player, a great leader and a real Blues man. He’s contributed a huge amount to this franchise in his nine previous seasons with the team and is committed to achieving success with the Blues in 2014.”
Jerome Kaino, 30, said he was looking forward to coming back to New Zealand.
“It has again been a very hard decision to give up the positives of playing in Japan to return to New Zealand Rugby and the Blues. However after weighing everything up I am very excited I have made the decision and can’t wait for the challenges that lay ahead.”