Rugby: Kaino returns to Blues

Jerome Kaino is returning to New Zealand rugby. Photo / Getty Images.
Jerome Kaino is returning to New Zealand rugby. Photo / Getty Images.

Jerome Kaino is returning to New Zealand rugby.

The former All Blacks flanker has signed a two-year deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Blues.

Kaino today tweeted, "Hey guys I can confirm i have signed with the NZRU & Blues for 2014/15, very excited about the challenge ahead."

Kaino has been playing in Japan since winning the Rugby World Cup with the All Blacks in 2011.

Kaino has played 48 tests for the All Blacks and his present deal takes him to the end of the 2015 World Cup in Europe. He played his last test in the 2011 World Cup final in a tournament where he was the most consistent player in the All Black squad.

His combination with Kieran Read and captain Richie McCaw had an emphatic influence on the team fortunes and it's hoped he can recapture the sort of form that made him one of the world's best players.

Since Kaino left, the All Blacks have used Adam Thomson, Victor Vito, Liam Messam and Luatua in the No 6 jersey but Thomson has joined the exodus to Japan, Luatua has just started while neither Messam nor Vito have nailed the role.

It's likely he would be used by the Blues at No 8 with Luatua at No 6.

"He's a Blues man and I would love to have him,'' coach Sir John Kirwan said of Kaino in July.

The lure of playing in another World Cup appears to have been strong, especially given the financial incentives to stay in Japan, where he reportedly earned about $1 million a season at Toyota.

- APNZ

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