You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Kaino itching for return in Samoa hit-out

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/06/2017 Angelo Risso

All Blacks blindside flanker Jerome Kaino is a touch rusty after undergoing knee surgery in late April, but reckons a solid hit-out against the Samoans at Eden Park next Friday will freshen him up.

The 34-year-old Blues veteran suffered a torn meniscus against the Hurricanes six weeks ago and hasn't played rugby since, missing Wednesday's late 22-16 win over the British and Irish Lions at Eden Park.

Kaino told reporters he had returned to 100 per cent fitness but skipped the fixture as a precaution, with the All Blacks' three Tests around the corner.

Yet before that, he hoped to blow out the cobwebs against Samoa.

"I'm available to play next week, it would've been good if I was available to play last night but it wasn't so - it was too much, I don't think they'd ever put that into consideration when they planned out my rehab," Kaino said on Thursday.

"I had to be sensible.

"This has given me some time to mentally refresh and just take a step back."

While away from the field, Kaino has kept up a solid fitness regimen with bike work and returned to full-contact Blues training two weeks ago.

But he said match fitness was a different matter - and something the Samoans, famed for their physicality, could provide in abundance.

It was the match he'd always targeted for his comeback.

"If you want to test yourself physically, those island games - especially Samoa - are the ones you can measure yourself up against," Kaino said.

"I love those kind of games - you can try and replicate it at training but it's never the same, so getting thrown into the games (is) the best.

"They love that aggressive game, that physical game."

Having won almost all there is to win with the All Blacks, Kaino will look to put the cherry on the top of an extraordinary Test career with a series win over the Lions, against whom he played for Auckland in 2005.

His omission from the 2005 Test series, when aged just 22, was a major regret.

"To put on the black jersey and play the Lions, that's a once-in-a-lifetime chance," the 77-cap Kaino said.

"It'd be a dream come true."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon