Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

HISTORY I'M BACK TO MAKE; Jerome Kaino Tells Chris Jones He Came out of International Retirement to Join the All Blacks' Bid to Become the First Team to Retain the World Cup

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

HISTORY I'M BACK TO MAKE; Jerome Kaino Tells Chris Jones He Came out of International Retirement to Join the All Blacks' Bid to Become the First Team to Retain the World Cup

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones

exclusive JEROME KAINO was convinced he had done the right thing when he quit international rugby and moved his family to Japan for a new experience. The flanker retired two Tests short of his 50th cap, having won the World Cup on home soil the previous year and signed for Toyota Verblitz.

The family moved to a home just outside Toyota, near Nagoya, where Kaino took to sushi and enjoyed the different style of rugby.

However, when he switched on the television to watch the All Blacks in action, he realised what he was missing and the lure of the famous jersey became too strong to ignore.

Kaino, 31, played almost every minute of New Zealand's historic 2011 World Cup triumph he went off late in the semi-final against Australia and narrowly missed out on being named the International Player of the Year following the hosts' 8-7 win over France in the final.

The chance to help New Zealand become the first team to retain the Rugby World Cup was impossible to ignore and when he factored in that he needed only two more caps to join a select band of Kiwis, Kaino decided to return home and fight for his place.

His return to national service after two seasons out of the country came in the First Test against England in Auckland in June, helping the All Blacks to a last-gasp 20-15 win over the team he is preparing to face again at Twickenham on Saturday.

Now on 54 caps, Kaino says: "When I went to Japan it came at the end of a tough few years and I needed a break. I wasn't thinking about returning to play for the All Blacks and it was all about taking the family to a different environment away from the pressured lifestyle. It wasn't until halfway through the two-year contract in Japan that I realised how much I missed the competition of Test rugby. "It was tough the first time I watched the All Blacks on television and I still felt I could add something to the team and finally made the decision to go back and compete for the jersey again. It did feel like a new start when I played in the First Test against England in June and the brand of rugby was different.

"I was very aware that I needed two more caps to get to 50 and it was part of why I did come back. …

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