Kaino's move to Europe imminent?
TRANSFER NEWS: All Blacks great Jerome Kaino’s long-heralded move to France is set to go ahead in the next few weeks, according to New Zealand media outlets.
The NZ Herald say that the decorated All Black could be set for a move either Toulouse or Toulon.
Kaino had been linked to Toulon as a replacement for Duane Vermeulen, but the galacticos club announced the signing of fellow All Black veteran Liam Messam back in January.
While pen has not been put to paper on the deal, it is expected to go ahead over the course of the next few weeks.
Toulouse’s current back row is not brimming with star power, especially compared with Toulon, and they have yet to find a replacement for Louis Picamoles who signed for Northampton Saints before moving to Montpellier.
Meanwhile Toulon – no longer the biggest spenders in France – can boast Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Facunda Isa, Mamuka Gorgodze, Raphel Lafakia and Manu Samoa.
While Toulon lose Vermeulen, they will be replacing him with Messam, who offers a similar skill set to Kaino.
At 34-years-old Kaino is no spring chicken and he will no doubt look to the success of fellow All Black Victor Vito at La Rochelle, who won Top14 player of the season for 2016/17.
If he is to capitalise on a big European paycheck, now is certainly the time for the loose forward.
Kaino’s starting position with his native All Blacks has been under pressure with Liam Squire and Vaea Fifita putting in some big performances while the 81 Test cap All Black was absent in recent times.
The 34-year-old moved to Auckland from American Samoa with his family when he was a child and played league before switching to rugby while at Papakura High School. After playing at centre and fullback as a teenager, Kaino developed into one of New Zealand’s most promising young loose forwards.
He has been capped 81 times for the All Blacks.