Having a coach who can hook into the psyche of players can make a difference to Pacific Island-heavy teams such as the Blues and Hurricanes in Super Rugby.
That is the view of All Black Jerome Kaino, who spoke to Hawke's Bay Today yesterday in promoting his autobiography, Jerome Kaino: My Story, written with Patrick McKendry.
The blindside flanker, who captained the Blues to a forgettable season, hastens to add former coach, ex-AB winger Sir John Kirwan, wasn't oblivious to the value of building such a rapport.
"JK was really good because he grew up in South Auckland ... and had a great way of dealing with all the players," Kaino says, emphasising it was a collaborative effort from the franchise involving the management group complementing each other as well as players becoming adroit in their trade.
"It's sad we couldn't produce the results on the field," he says of the Blues who finished in 14th place, a point above the Force, on the table.
"It's a challenge to bring players and make them agree on one thing but it's a coach by coach, year by year situation and the players have to buy into it," says Kaino, who is looking forward to next year's Super stint under new coach and former All Black captain Tana Umaga.
His book is dedicated to his wife, Di, their children, Milan and Kobe, and his parents, Velonika and Sa.
He hopes the book will strike a chord with other Pacific Island youngsters - not just inspire them to become elite athletes but also good competitors in the game of life.
NZ Herald journalist McKendry adopts a refreshing style in recounting gems that should find traction with all ages and backgrounds, as well as keeping to the subject's request to express his views using four-letter words to capture the essence of what the player is trying to convey to the readers.
For someone who grappled with well-documented drinking demons and came close to losing his AB career, America Samoa-born Kaino dwells on the importance of how a "crammer" such as himself made some right decisions to switch high schools to realise his potential and pave a pathway to rugby heaven.
"South Auckland is a hotbed for talent," he says, alluding to the exodus of so many youngsters catching the eye of NRL talent scouts.
He couldn't have exorcised his demons without the help of his wife, who he briefly split up with, and a caring "rugby fraternity", including Sir Graham Henry, Steven Hansen, Wayne Smith, Richie McCaw and Keven Mealamu, to name a few.
Kaino exposes some critical moments when the ABs coaching stable didn't mince words when impressing on him to pull finger or be dumped from the national side.
He is a bloke who admits he isn't comfortable facing media and doing promotional work. "I was never a natural speaker and I'm still not."
However, he's working on it and would love to continue captaining the Blues provided Umaga wants him, but the 31-year-old is equally comfortable in getting behind anyone who succeeds him to ensure the collective thrives.
His father moulded his work ethics, for example, making him mow lawns without pay for neighbours. Such values he instils in his children.
"You do things for others for the love of it, not because you're going to get something back."
The book makes references to Napier, especially when Kirwan approached him to become Blues captain.
Defending the Rugby World Cup from next month, if picked, excites him.
"I try to perform as if every game is my last one," he says.
Wearing the nickname of "Aunty", the skinny Papakura kid who never looked like becoming a rugby player reveals a gentler side to his tough exterior on the rugger field.
The "Aunty thing" was a partiality towards mastering the art of changing nappies.
A shocked Kaino, incidentally, was on his hands and knees helping wife Di tack her trousers when he received a congratulatory text to say he had made the All Blacks muster.
He proudly acknowledges his selection as the second man from American Samoa to make the All Blacks, after Frank Solomon, another loosie from the 1930s.
The man, who has more than 50 caps for the ABs and more than 100 for the Blues, rates McCaw and Frenchman Thierry Dusautoir among rugby leaders he admires.
Despite his 2011 World Cup feat, Kaino has no qualms about disclosing his less-than-acceptable moments in the elite arena.
His quest to forge friendships across franchise and international boundaries offers a snapshot of gentlemanly conduct once the dust has settled on the fields of contention.
Chiefs rival for the ABs No 6 shirt Liam Messam, death-defying Springbok Schalk Burger and Kiwi-born Wallaby Quade Cooper have left indelible impressions on him.
"Quade's a great guy, very humble when you get to meet him and talk to him," he says in the book.
He enjoyed his stint in Japan as a professional but, akin to many islanders, doesn't enjoy straying from his comfort zone.
He not only returned home but proved pundits wrong in claiming his ABs berth.