Kaino returns to All Blacks squad

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Sport,
Publish Date
Monday, 18 September 2017, 10:48AM
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Veteran Jerome Kaino has been named in the All Blacks squad after departing the team for personal reasons last month.

Kaino left the squad on the eve of the All Blacks Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia in Sydney.

Fellow loose forward Matt Todd and lock Patrick Tuipulotu have also re-joined the squad for the final two matches of the Rugby Championship against Argentina and South Africa.

Six players will miss the Argentina test in Buenos Aires and join the squad in South Africa - locks Samuel Whitelock and Brodie Retallick, loose forwards Liam Squire and Sam Cane and backs Beauden Barrett and Ryan Crotty.

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said it was vital to try and keep players fresh and performing at their very best at this time of the year, with the All Blacks playing eight matches in nine weeks across multiple time zones, taking in the back end of the Rugby Championship, the third Bledisloe Cup match and the end of year Tour.

"We struggled at times last year, this is the hardest time of the year for us, so we are just trying to think outside the box and think of ways to keep the players fresh. This also gives us a chance to build player depth and experience.

"It puts a lot of pressure on us going to Argentina because they are a good side and we'll need to play well to perform there, but we're confident that the group we are taking there will be able to do the job."

The squad to travel to Argentina is:

Forwards: Wyatt Crockett, Kane Hames, Nepo Laulala, Jeffery Toomaga Allen, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Dane Coles, Codie Taylor, Nathan Harris, Scott Barrett, Luke Romano, Patrick Tuipulotu, Vaea Fifita, Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read (captain), Ardie Savea and Matt Todd.

Backs: Tawera Kerr-Barlow, TJ Perenara, Aaron Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ngani Laumape, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Damian McKenzie, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Waisake Naholo.

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