Jerome Kaino is one of the most devastating loose forwards in world rugby, with his tenacious defence and slick ball handling skills earning him many Test caps in an All Blacks jersey.
Kaino is considered one of the game's great blindside flankers and he played in all seven of last year's RWC 2015 matches as the All Blacks went back-to-back. He carried a big workload throughout the year; he also brought up his Investec Super Rugby century with the Blues in 2015 and is their most experienced squad member in 2016.
He moved to Auckland from American Samoa with his family when he was a child and played league before switching to rugby while at Papakura High School. After playing at centre and fullback as a teenager, Kaino developed into one of New Zealand’s most promising young loose forwards. In his first year with the Blues in 2004 he was acknowledged internationally by winning the IRB Under-21 Player of the Year award.
He finished the 2007 Rebel Sport Super 14 round-robin as the only New Zealand forward to play every minute. Kaino then played for the Junior All Blacks in 2005 and was again chosen for the side in 2007.
The Auckland and Blues blindside flanker has the athleticism to dominate in open play and the size to cover locking duties. “Lome” missed selection in the 2006 Rebel Sport Super 14 due to a shoulder injury, but recovered in time to play the last four games of the season.
He attended the same high school in Auckland, St Kentigern’s, as flying wing Joe Rokocoko.
In 2008 Kaino, who earned many comparisons with Jerry Collins for his uncompromising physical style, would become a key member of the All Blacks setup and is now the first-choice blindside flanker.
He had a barn-storming 2014 season with his beloved Blues team, following his two seasons offshore playing in Japan, earning a call up to the All Blacks nearly three years after he last played for the team in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
2006 v Ireland at Hamilton
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2004 v Poverty Bay
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2004 v Reds
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• Voted IRB Under 21 Player of the Year in 2004 and was Player of the Tournament at the 2004 IRB Under 21 World Championship and New Zealand Age Grade Player of the Year the same year.
• One of only three players to play every game for Auckland in the 2004 Air New Zealand NPC.
• Scored a try in his All Blacks debut against the Barbarians (non Test cap) at Twickenham in December 2004.
• Started the first two matches of the Junior All Blacks tour to Australia in 2005 before returning to play for Auckland against the British & Irish Lions.
• Not originally in the Blues’ 2006 Rebel Sport Super 14 squad, he was called back after 2005 All Black Angus Macdonald succumbed to an ACL injury.