Super Rugby

Kaino targeting ITM Cup return

Kaino targeting ITM Cup return

INJURED ALL Blacks loose forward Jerome Kaino is hoping to return to action during the ITM Cup.

Kaino has surgery on the shoulder he injured during the Blues’ round two loss against the Chiefs tomorrow.

Not only is him being sidelined for six months a big loss for the Auckland-based franchise, but it also leaves a sizable hole in the All Blacks set-up, with Adam Thomson, Liam Messam and Victor Vito now the front-runners to fill Kaino’s vacancy on the short side of the scrum.

Although the chances of him seeing much meaningful rugby are slim, Kaino is remaining optimistic.

“Hopefully I'll scrape in for the ITM Cup, but I have to get there first,” he says.

The All Blacks No 6 is off contract at the end of the season, but hasn’t given much thought as to whether he will commit to New Zealand rugby beyond this year.

“I'm still trying to get over not playing for the Blues [again] this season, and that's where my head is at the moment. I'm just looking forward to this operation and we'll see what happens after that.

“Hopefully everything goes well with my recovery and rehab and I'm back on the field as soon as possible.”

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