Jerome Kaino's season has been virtually written off which is a mini disaster for the Blues who were desperate for the leadership and grinding crunch of the All Black hard man.

It may, though, prove to be a blessing in disguise for New Zealand rugby. Kaino is off contract at the end of this year and has received at least two tempting offshore offers. A million dollar a year contract awaits in Japan while French giants Toulouse are in the hunt, too.

Kaino is uncertain about his plans. At 28 he's aware that he's probably only got one, probably two big contracts left in his career. If he wants to be rich - set up for life that is - then two seasons in Japan would push him close.

He's put himself about since 2004 and the less physical regime of Japanese club rugby where they only play 12 games must be temping. That gentle world for $1million-plus- it would be hard to say no.


But he has to say no. He can't leave yet - he's got more to give and a ferocious unit like Kaino needs to be in a black jersey. Firstly there is the question of his sporting legacy.

A career can't be judged by dollars in the bank and endorsement deals. They are part of it - but surely a career is still predominantly judged by achievement on the field? Test caps won; memorable performances; victories; big tackles and classic memories make a career and Kaino has only touched the tip of his ice-berg.

He's a world class force now but let's not forget how long that took to come about. He didn't scramble up his personal summit - it was a long, slow climb to get there and he only really arrived at the end of 2010 when he had his coming of age performance against the Welsh in Cardiff.

If Kaino left this year, it wouldn't take long for the sands of time to erode his footprint. He's worked so hard to enjoy a treasured place as a revered and respected senior All Black - is now the time to give it all up?

Kids who wait patiently for their beloved ice-cream don't tend to throw it on the ground once they have it. That's where Kaino is now - he's in that magical place with the ice-cream in his hand and time to savour it.

And besides all else, it's never a good idea to leave after a disappointing year which is almost certainly what 2012 will be given his injury. He might recover in time to play a few tests at the end of the Rugby Championship but a man of his standing needs a grand finale.

His test career demands proper closure and that won't happen if he leaves this year. Being part of an abject performance against the Chiefs in round two - that's no way to bring down the curtain on his time with the Blues.

Injury has robbed the Blues and the All Blacks of a great warrior in 2012 but it may be the means by which they win him back for 2013 and beyond.