Jerome Kaino Refreshed And Ready For Super Rugby Title

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If the Blues are to have any chance of winning Super Rugby this year, Jerome Kaino will, as ever, have a big role to play. The Blues last won a Super Rugby title back in 2003, and they haven’t looked like coming close since. As captain, Jerome Kaino’s responsibility as a leader is nothing new. Kaino has often been the scapegoat of the media during the Blues poor run of form in recent Super Rugby seasons. In 2016, the pressure is on Kaino to deliver positive results, not even a title for many, just some wins against quality opposition.

Kaino will be part of a loose-forward trio, that if in sync, could be a big part of a successful Blues campaign in 2016. Kaino is joined by long-time partner Steven Luatua, and All Black Sevens regular Akira Ioane. Ioane’s talent is yet to be fully realised, despite his international Sevens experience. In 2016, Ioane must translate that talent into the 15’s game. But Jerome Kaino is the main man in this squad. Make no mistake about that.

All this has been said before, the Blues have been awful in recent years, but if you look at Kaino himself, his record is astonishing. Simply put, Kaino has been in career-best form since returning to New Zealand in 2014. Many said that Kaino would float around Super Rugby but never reach the heights of the All Blacks again. His time at the international level was all but done and dusted.

Those critics were wrong.

Not only did Kaino return to the All Blacks, he was an integral part of the 2015 RWC winning campaign. Kaino was part of the leadership group, even back in 2011 when the All Blacks were victorious on home soil, so his calibre as one of the worlds’ best players cannot be questioned. Kaino returned to the Blues squad this week, feeling refreshed after an extended break with family, and ready for his first taste of rugby under the direction of Tana Umaga.

Umaga has a plan and has already turned the entire club on its head since taking over last year. The horror run under Sir John Kirwan will not continue, or at least not under Umaga’s watch, and like it or loathe it, even Kaino himself is going to have to toe the line. With all the accolades, all the match-turning moments, and all the tries for the Blues over the years, Jerome Kaino is yet to win a Super Rugby title.

2016 could be the year that changes.

The Blues will host defending Super Rugby champions, the Highlanders, in the opening round of competition in late February.

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