WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Feb 28 – All Black flanker Jerome Kaino announced his international retirement Wednesday, saying he will leave New Zealand to play in France at the end of the Super Rugby season.
The two-time World Cup winner has 81 Test caps and played a huge role in New Zealand’s successful 2011 and 2015 campaigns.
“He helped set the benchmark for modern loose forward play with his dominant performances over the years,” New Zealand Rugby (NZR) chief executive Steve Tew said in a statement.
NZR did not say which French club the 34-year-old will join but he has been linked with Toulon, who last month announced the departure of loose forward Duane Vermeulen.
The All Blacks have a policy of not selecting overseas-based players and have able replacements at blindside flanker in Liam Squire and Vaea Fifita.
Auckland Blues coach Tana Umaga said the American Samoa-born Kaino remained an integral part of his plans for the 2018 Super Rugby season.
“We are just at the start of a very important Super Rugby campaign and Jerome has a big part to play in that,” he said.