Jerome's return will only intensify the contest for the black jersey even more
World Cup-winning All Blacks blindside flank Jerome Kaino will return to the Blues next year after signing a two-year deal with the Auckland franchise.
The 48-Test All Black has been contracted to play with the Blues and be available for the All Blacks in 2014 and 2015.
Blues head coach John Kirwan said: "We're thrilled to welcome Jerome back to the Blues. He's a fantastic player, a great leader and a real Blues man. He's contributed a huge amount to this franchise in his nine previous seasons with the team and is committed to achieving success with the Blues in 2014."
The 30-year-old Kaino said he was looking forward to coming back to New Zealand after two years in Japan.
"It has again been a very hard decision to give up the positives of playing in Japan to return to New Zealand Rugby and the Blues. However after weighing everything up I am very excited I have made the decision and can’t wait for the challenges that lay ahead," he said.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew welcomed Kaino's return as great news for New Zealand rugby.
"Jerome has already proven he is a world class player, so having him back is certainly an exciting development.
"After losing Jerome to Japan two years ago, the All Blacks have worked hard to build depth in that position, and we have seen outstanding performances from the players who have stepped up to the role.
"Jerome's return will only intensify the contest for the black jersey even more."
"On a general level, Jerome remains a hero for many New Zealand rugby fans, so we are delighted that they will get to see him play his rugby in New Zealand again," he added.