Kaino confirms move to France

Jerome Kaino has played  81 tests for the All Blacks. Photo: Getty Images
Jerome Kaino has played 81 tests for the All Blacks. Photo: Getty Images

Jerome Kaino has confirmed he will leave New Zealand Rugby at the end of this Super Rugby season.

The New Zealand Herald revealed last week the 81-test All Blacks loose forward had made his decision to leave, and Kaino today confirmed he will depart for France after one final campaign with the Blues.

Kaino has been linked to Toulouse and Toulon. The 34-year-old is the third most capped Blues player behind Keven Mealamu and Tony Woodcock.

He will also leave New Zealand with two World Cup triumphs, both of which he was a major contributor.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said: "On behalf of New Zealand Rugby, I'd like to acknowledge everything that Jerome has done for the game in New Zealand. He's had a massive impact in the Auckland, Blues and All Blacks jerseys.

"He helped set the benchmark for modern loose forward play with his dominant performances over the years, highlighted by his outstanding play at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups.

"We wish him and his family all the very best."

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen added: "Jerome will leave New Zealand rugby with our best wishes. He's had a long and distinguished career in the All Blacks jersey and brought a physicality and skill level to his game which made him the best in the world in his position.

"He can be rightly proud of everything he has achieved in the All Blacks, which included helping win two Rugby World Cups.

"I'd like to thank him for his service and also want to acknowledge his wife Di and the family for their outstanding support for him and the team over many years.

"It has certainly been appreciated and we wish them all the very best wishes for the next chapter of their lives."

The Blues are adamant there is only one way to honour their departing talisman, and that is in their on-field performance.

"We certainly salute and honour Jerome for his incredible contribution to this club both on and off the field," coach Tana Umaga said.

"We are just at the start of a very important Super Rugby campaign and Jerome has a big part to play in that. Our players will want to send him off in the best possible way by our work on the field and building performances."

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