Rugby Championship

Barbarians clash extra special for me - Kaino

2017-11-03 14:18
Jerome Kaino (Getty)

Cape Town - Jerome Kaino says this weekend's match against the Barbarians is 'extra special' for him as he tries to fight his way back up the All Blacks pecking order. 

Kaino was dropped after the British and Irish Lions series and hasn't played in the All Blacks' last seven Test matches, a period spanning 15 weeks. The 34-year-old admits it has been the toughest time in his life as a professional athlete. 

"Yeah I'd say so, but the team and coaches have been great in creating a positive distraction away from that," Kaino said. "They've been helpful and supportive in that time. I'm still working through a lot of things but for me it's focusing on footy this week. 

"It has been tough but I've been able to deal with that away from footy and the team. The rugby union has been great throughout that time. It's going to take a lot of time ... It's an on-going process." 

Liam Squire and Vaea Fifita have put their hands up in Kaino's absence but the 82-Test capped stalwart has remained positive on the matter. 

I didn't think too much of it obviously with a lot of things outside footy I've been focused on. That natural progression to start thinking about the future was always going to happen," Kaino said.

"I wouldn't say it's been frustrating but I would've loved a little more rugby and to be involved more. For me to still be involved and around the group has been encouraging - just to be able to train and be in touch that's driven me a lot." 

Kaino believes his All Black career is far from over and says this weekend's fixture holds added significance for him as he tries to fight his way back in to the first-choice starting XV. 

"I still feel I've got a lot of footy left in me. I'm still driven to work hard every day and fight for a position but also if not involved, which I haven't been in the last few weeks, I've managed to refocus my time and energy into preparing the guys that do run out," Kaino said. 

"The possibility of being involved this weekend is extra special for me."

says this weekend's match against the Barbarians is 'extra special' for him as he tries to fight his way back up the All Blacks pecking order. 

Kaino was dropped after the British and Irish Lions series and hasn't played in the All Blacks' last seven Test matches, a period spanning 15 weeks. The 34-year-old admits it has been the toughest time in his life as a professional athlete. 

"Yeah I'd say so, but the team and coaches have been great in creating a positive distraction away from that," Kaino said. "They've been helpful and supportive in that time. I'm still working through a lot of things but for me it's focusing on footy this week. 

"It has been tough but I've been able to deal with that away from footy and the team. The rugby union has been great throughout that time. It's going to take a lot of time ... It's an on-going process." 

Liam Squire and Vaea Fifita have put their hands up in Kaino's absence but the 82-Test capped stalwart has remained positive on the matter.

I didn't think too much of it obviously with a lot of things outside footy I've been focused on. That natural progression to start thinking about the future was always going to happen," Kaino said. 

"I wouldn't say it's been frustrating but I would've loved a little more rugby and to be involved more. For me to still be involved and around the group has been encouraging - just to be able to train and be in touch that's driven me a lot." 

Kaino believes his All Black career is far from over and says this weekend's fixture holds added significance for him as he tries to fight his way back in to the first-choice starting XV. 

"I still feel I've got a lot of footy left in me. I'm still driven to work hard every day and fight for a position but also if not involved, which I haven't been in the last few weeks, I've managed to refocus my time and energy into preparing the guys that do run out," Kaino said. 

"The possibility of being involved this weekend is extra special for me."

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