Kaino agrees Japan switch

PA Sport
Jerome Kaino

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Jerome Kaino

Flanker Jerome Kaino has opted to leave New Zealand rugby and sign for Japanese club Toyota on a two-year contract, the New Zealand Rugby Union have confirmed.

The 28-year-old, who started every game of the All Blacks' successful World Cup campaign last autumn and has played 48 Tests, is currently sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Blues star Kaino has taken up an option to end his current contract after the Super 15 season.

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said on www.allblacks.com: "On behalf of New Zealand rugby, we wish Jerome and his family well. He has been an outstanding New Zealand rugby player ever since his schoolboy days. We made a very strong bid to keep him here in New Zealand and would have loved for him to stay but, ultimately, we understand his decision."

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen added: "JK has been a key figure in the All Blacks for several years now and part of the backbone of the side. He is a top man and I have been lucky enough to see him grow and develop over his years in the black jersey.

"He will be missed but we wish him, his wife Di and their family all the very best, and we hope to see him back in New Zealand one day."

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