Overseas interest in injured Kaino put on hold
Jerome Kaino's contract negotiations for next year have been put on hold while he awaits medical advice following his shoulder operation.
The future of the hard-running Blues and All Blacks star, whose World Cup heroics placed him among the world's foremost loose forwards, has been a hot topic over the last few weeks, with strong interest from clubs in Europe and Japan, as well as the New Zealand Rugby Union.
But all talks have come to a grinding halt because of Kaino's shoulder, injured during the Blues game against the Chiefs a fortnight ago. The injury required an operation on Wednesday.
A piece of bone was knocked off his shoulder joint and agent Bruce Sharrock confirmed interested parties were now waiting for a doctors' report before going further.
"There are a number of facets around this and the most recent is his injury," Sharrock told News.
"I'm sure that any businessman who was considering investing considerable money into something and something like this happened, you'd want to make sure the outcome would be satisfactory before you continued the process.
"That's where it sits now. It's not news there is interest out of Japan in Jerome Kaino. Equally, there is interest out of the UK and very strong interest in New Zealand to retain him.
"I would have hoped we would have had a decision before now, but due to that injury I would see it at least being a week away before there are any confirmation is made as to what his plans will be."
At 28, the 48-test All Black is at the peak of his career but no club would want to outlay huge sums for a player with serious shoulder problems. However, it is hoped the doctors will give Kaino positive news in a few days and he'll be able to make his decision on where to play next season.
"Jerome has seen offers from Europe, Japan and New Zealand," Sharrock said.
"He has been assessing those for some time but what's happened is he got injured and for a couple of weeks we didn't know how bad that was but on Wednesday he underwent an operation.
"Internationally they're still extremely interested, but it is prudent for us to wait a week and see full medical reports.
"It is still ultimately Jerome's call, and although the decision hasn't been made by him yet, we have narrowed the field right down."
It has been reported in France and the News that Toulouse have fallen out of the running.
While Sharrock wouldn't confirm this completely or deny, he did say that Japan or New Zealand are the more likely options.
"We haven't officially said that [Toulouse are out], but that's probably right.
"Where we've got to with three or four genuine parties, they're probably the last one.
"But the first thing is he's getting a check up, early-mid next week post op to see how things have settled.
"The operation did go well, but by the middle of next week they'll be able to say they'll be able to say a full recovery will be in x amount of weeks or months and he'll be fine to resume rugby.
"Once we know that we'll get back on the line with the interested parties and look to bring it to a head, whether that's Europe, Japan or New Zealand, but it's probably New Zealand or Japan."