CONFIRMED: Kaino ends All Blacks career
TRANSFER NEWS: Jerome Kaino has called time on his All Blacks career by announcing he is set to move France at the end of the Super Rugby season.
The back-row has won 81 caps for New Zealand in his career, twice helping them to World Cup glory in 2011 and 2015.
Kaino has also played 127 games for Blues, with only Tony Woodcock and Keven Mealamu having made more appearances.
Announcing his decision in a post on Instagram, Kaino wrote: "After much speculation, I want to confirm that I will be leaving NZ Rugby at the end of the 2018 Blues campaign.
"I want to thank NZRU, Auckland rugby, the Blues and the All Blacks for the opportunities and constant development I have been given. My coaches, managers, physios, Docs, staff, sponsors, media for the years of support and guidance.
“Finally and most importantly to my FAMILY and the FANS the people who have made my career here in NZ such a special experience, you have been amazing, I will forever be grateful.
“But for now it’s back to work with my @bluesrugbyteam brothers,"
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen wished the player well.
"Jerome will leave New Zealand rugby with our best wishes. He's had a long and distinguished career in the All Blacks jersey and brought a physicality and skill level to his game which made him the best in the world in his position. He can be rightly proud of everything he has achieved in the All Blacks, which included helping win two Rugby World Cups.
"I'd like to thank him for his service and also want to acknowledge his wife Di and the family for their outstanding support for him and the team over many years. It has certainly been appreciated and we wish them all the very best wishes for the next chapter of their lives,"
The Blues are adamant that there is only one way to honour their departing talisman, and that is in their on- field performance.
"We certainly salute and honour Jerome for his incredible contribution to this club both on and off the field," said coach Tana Umaga.
"We are just at the start of a very important Super Rugby campaign and Jerome has a big part to play in that. Our players will want to send him off in the best possible way by our work on the field and building performances,"
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said: "On behalf of New Zealand Rugby, I'd like to acknowledge everything that Jerome has done for the game in New Zealand. He's had a massive impact in the Auckland, Blues and All Blacks jerseys.
"He helped set the benchmark for modern loose forward play with his dominant performances over the years, highlighted by his outstanding play at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups.
"We wish him and his family all the very best."