Kaino wants to work his way back into All Blacks

Former All Blacks and Blues loose-forward Jerome Kaino has revealed that playing for the All Blacks again was his main reason for re-signing with the Blues.

Kaino is expected to return from Japan in the second half of February depending on how well his Toyota team do in the Japanese play offs.

The former All Black will play Super Rugby for his former team the Blues in 2014 and he believes that he still has what it takes to be an All Black again.

“It’s a huge reason why I chose to come back,” he told Radio Sport.

“There’s still a burning desire to play for the All Black jersey.”

When asked whether he had a starting spot or a place on the bench in mind Kaino said, “When you strive to be in the All Blacks you definitely want to hop on the field and get that starting spot.”

Kaino left New Zealand straight after the 2011 Rugby World Cup and had a shoulder problem at the time. He says that his body is in currently in good condition but he concedes that he will take time to get used to playing Super Rugby again.

“I’m probably not as strict as I was before I left but in saying that I’ve had the freedom to be able work on the weaknesses in my game.

“The competition I’ve been exposed to here probably isn’t as rigorous as it is at home.

“It took me a long time to get to me where I was there,” he said of his World Cup form.

“Obviously when I get back I probably won’t be able to hit the road running and start from where I left, but everything is a challenge… obviously when I take the field next in New Zealand everyone is going to compare me to when I last took the field in New Zealand which was in the World Cup.”

“It’s up to me to put my head down and work hard,” said Kaino.

Thirty-year-old Kaino played 48 Tests for the All Blacks after making his international debut back in 2006 and while he has been away in Japan Liam Messam and Steven Luatua have taken over his position.

Luatua is likely be first-choice No6 at the Blues, Kaino expects to compete with Peter Saili for the No8 position but he is not bothered by the historical record of former All Blacks battling to find their past form.

“People have spoken about if a few times but I haven’t really given it too much thought. I look at it in a case by case scenario. I’m not reading too much by what’s happened in the past.”

Kaino said that his family have already returned to Auckland and that he was now living out of suitcase and would be happy to be available straight away for the Blues.

“I’m pretty happy to hop straight into things but it all depends on the structures I have to learn and where I fit into the team.

“Physically I feel very good, but in terms of being up to pace of the Super 15 or internationals, I’m not too sure, I’ll probably find out in that first game I play.”

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