All Black Jerome Kaino set to head for Japan

DAVID LONG
Last updated 18:42 22/03/2012
Jerome Kaino
MARTIN HUNTER/Fairfax NZ

SAYONARA: All Blacks loose forward Jerome Kaino is set to announce he will leave New Zealand for Japan later this year.

Jerome Kaino
JOHN SELKIRK/Fairfax NZ
SAYONARA: All Blacks loose forward Jerome Kaino is set to announce he will leave New Zealand for Japan later this year.

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Jerome Kaino is set to announce his departure from New Zealand rugby and that he'll be playing rugby in Japan when his current contract with the NZRU runs out later this year.

The All Blacks and Blues loose forward - who is out of rugby for six months following shoulder operation - is to hold a press conference today at the offices of Esportif, the management agency that represents him.

Kaino's Super Rugby season was ended three weeks ago when he picked up a shoulder injury against the Chiefs.

It is expected that at this conference Kaino will confirm he is leaving for Japan, with the Toyota club the likely destination.

Kaino's agent, Bruce Sharrock told Fairfax Media last weekend that an announcement was imminent, but there had been a hold up because of Kaino's operation.

This was because clubs were wanting to find out if there would be any lasting damage from his injury that could jeopardise his playing ability.

Kaino saw a medical specialist earlier this week to give him the results of how successful the operation was and it appears that he has been told the news that there won't be any lasting damage from the injury.

The 28-year-old Kaino, who has played 48 tests for the All Blacks, further established himself as one of the world's premier loose forwards during last year's World Cup and can consider himself desperately unlucky to miss out to France's Thierry Dusautoir as the 2011 IRB World Player of the Year.

With Kaino out of the reckoning, it opens the way for Liam Messam or Adam Thomson to establish themselves as the All Blacks' leading blindside flanker.

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