Kaino's return to NZ confirmed
Former All Black back rower Jerome Kaino has confirmed he is returning to New Zealand rugby next year.
Kaino, who joined Toyota Verblitz in Japan after the Rugby World Cup in 2011, confirmed via Twitter that he has signed a two-year deal with the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Blues that he hopes will see him win back his place in All Blacks squad for the defence of the 2015 World Cup in England.
"Hey guys I can confirm I have signed with the NZRU and Blues for 2014/15, very excited about the challenge ahead," Kaino tweeted.
According to TVNZ, the 30-year-old was also pursued by the Chiefs but he opted to rejoin the Blues in a deal that will have him earning about $700,000 annually.
That is still thought to be significantly less than he was receiving in Japan where he is understood to have been taking home roughly a $1 million a year after tax.
But the financial sacrifice appears to be one he is prepared to make to wear the black jersey again.
It is understood Kaino, who has represented New Zealand in 48 Tests, has a clause that will enable him to return overseas if he is unable to regain his place in the All Blacks.
It is also expected that he will join the North Harbour union as part of a special deal through the Blues to keep him in the region.
He will be Blues coach Sir John Kirwan's second major signing for 2014, following the arrival of rugby league star Benji Marshall from the NRL.