Who will replace Jerome Kaino?

Adam Julian Roar Guru

34 Have your say

    It appears Jerome Kaino is bound for France at the end of the Super Rugby season.

    The 34-year-old Blues flanker has been a mainstay of the All Blacks for 81 Tests, winning two World Cups, but missed much of 2017, which presented several replacements the opportunity to usurp the veteran.

    Nobody fully grasped their chance, so who will emerge in 2018 as the next Jerome Kaino?

    Last season, Liam Squire was the most frequent choice in the 6 jersey, earning seven caps. Squire was good, but went missing in the Brisbane defeat to Australia.

    Combined with a startling turn of pace, Squire has the size to physically dominate, but has yet to cement his spot.

    Vaea Fifita made a spectacular start against Argentina, but lacked consistency in subsequent appearances. Fifita is easily the most exciting of the athletes available, but does he have the work rate to command a regular starting berth?

    Luke Whitelock was a midweek captain, is consistent and tireless, but he lacks the explosiveness of Squire and Fifita.

    Elliot Dixon has fallen out of favour. An underwhelming three Tests in 2016 was followed by omission form the end of year tour. At his best, Dixon was a commanding figure in a Super Rugby final. Can he recapture top form?

    Ardie Savea was the top tackler in Super Rugby last year, but the busy and dynamic openside appears to have slipped behind Sam Cane and Matt Todd as the third preferred openside.

    Cane had his best season in All Black colours in 2017 and having captained his country is a clear favourite of the selectors, but could he switch to the blindside? Todd is a defensive trojan, but doesn’t offer the same attacking spark as Savea, who appears to lack the presence at the breakdown of the former two.

    Could Savea and Cane both appear in the loose? Sacrificing some size for additional speed might add a different dimension to the All Blacks’ attack and be a telling point of difference in the November Test against the English.

    Brad Shields is England bound. The 26-year-old has been knocking on the door for sometime, but has lost patience and won’t be considered.

    Jordan Taufua is an explosive force in the Crusaders, but his lack of height seems to have counted against him and he is likely to join Kaino in the overseas exodus.

    Who will cement their claim as the best six in New Zealand? This is one of the most fascinating questions ahead of the Super Rugby season.

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    The Crowd Says (34)

    • Roar Guru

      February 22nd 2018 @ 3:59am
      The Neutral View From Sweden said | February 22nd 2018 @ 3:59am | ! Report

      I believe that both Luke Whitelock and Elliot Dixon leaves for Europe at the end of this season also. That is what the rumor mill says at least.

      Whoever replaces Kaino, I don’t see an upgrading for the AB’s overall power. Could be a concern. Kaino has been one of the most consistent performers during the AB’s golden period and he was outstanding in the last two World Cups.

    • Roar Guru

      February 22nd 2018 @ 5:08am
      Machpants said | February 22nd 2018 @ 5:08am | ! Report

      Kaino was player of the tournament last two RWC, IMO. Luke has yet to decide if he’s going overseas, so he maybe around until this cup.

      Really it’s Squires’ spot to lose. I would be intruiged to see the Cane Savea combo but Ardie will have to get back to form, he fell off in accuracy last year. So unless someone plays the house down AND Squires slumps nothing will change.

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 5:38am
      Highlander said | February 22nd 2018 @ 5:38am | ! Report

      Disappointed that we will no longer see the big man in Black, and concur he could easily have been awarded player of the tournament at the last 2 World Cups.

      An under rated ball carrier, 40 something metres in the RWC final, a genuine offensive threat as he showed at that last RWC but most importantly his mere presence made sides think twice about sneaking down that blindside. Not since Cowboy Shaw have we had a man that hits like him.
      A gentle giant off the park and a massive presence on it.

      Liam Squire has developed faster than I thought he would and has all the attributes to be the AB six.
      Rapid leg speed, strong carrier in the tight, big hitter at the gainline and a better lineout option than Jerome.
      Quit simply, we are yet to see him bring all these qualities in an 80 minute performance for the ABs.

      Blindside requires a maturity in the modern game, a game reader, the one who can clean up behind his locks and fellow loosies should they get out of position.
      Squire is not quite here yet – but he is getting close.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 5:45am
        mania said | February 22nd 2018 @ 5:45am | ! Report

        “Not since Cowboy Shaw have we had a man that hits like him.’ ummm jerryCollins?

        • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:23am
          Highlander said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

          Fair call,but always thought Jerry was more likely to mug you in the middle of the park than patrolling that narrow side
          Should have been clearer.

        • February 22nd 2018 @ 9:31am
          Dsat24 said | February 22nd 2018 @ 9:31am | ! Report

          Hale Jerrys D

    • Roar Guru

      February 22nd 2018 @ 6:39am
      Fionn said | February 22nd 2018 @ 6:39am | ! Report

      What a struggle, having to decide between Fifita, Squire, Dixon, Taufua.

      As an Aussie you have my sympathies.

      I think that the Kiwis perhaps undervalued Brad Shields, and I’m surprised he isn’t capped by now. Is Akira Ioane in the mix?

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:17am
        And we have... said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:17am | ! Report

        Pocock. (And the overrated Waratahs)

        The ARU (cough RA) have put all of their eggs in one basket backing Pocock (and overvalued Waratah players). Which is stupid.

        Let me say that:

        – it is a long season
        – injuries happen
        – anything can happen!

        (Aussie rugby will never reach the depth of NZ rugby!

        • February 22nd 2018 @ 10:39am
          Fionn said | February 22nd 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

          Thanks for the input.

          • February 22nd 2018 @ 3:41pm
            Malo said | February 22nd 2018 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

            Fion it’s true , stop being an ostrich , another 0-26 is likely but the Tahs should get a nz scalp. The faith or desperation on Pocock by the aru is astonishing. That money could have developed a whole handful of players by creating a type of Ranfurlyy shield.

            • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:35pm
              Fionn said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:35pm | ! Report


    • February 22nd 2018 @ 6:55am
      richard said | February 22nd 2018 @ 6:55am | ! Report

      I think the loss of Shields is big.To think he is probably going to end up in an England jersey at some stage .ugh!!AI is more an 8,and there seems to be a perception that he is a lazy player and goes missing in games.I do think he is on Hansen’s radar though.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 9:51pm
        Mmmmm..k said | February 22nd 2018 @ 9:51pm | ! Report

        He will struggle to get a gig for England.


        • February 23rd 2018 @ 6:09am
          richard said | February 23rd 2018 @ 6:09am | ! Report

          I believe he should have been given a chance by now – certainly ahead of Fifita.And you can discount Taufua- he is too small to be a 6/8.

          • February 23rd 2018 @ 2:09pm
            Mmmmm..k said | February 23rd 2018 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

            Richard Hill was too small?

            Taufua isn’t too small but it would probably count against him.

            • February 25th 2018 @ 4:10pm
              richard said | February 25th 2018 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

              Hill is 1.88 m ( 6 foot 2),Taufua is i.87 ( 6 foot 1).No real diff,but you can’t seriously be comparing Taufua to Hill in playing terms,can you?

              6’4″ to 6’7″ is probably your ideal height for blindside/eight.

    • Roar Guru

      February 22nd 2018 @ 7:10am
      Kia Kaha said | February 22nd 2018 @ 7:10am | ! Report

      Thanks, Adam.

      You could add in Scott Barrett as well to that list. Certainly no shortage of options but a long road to get to the heights of where Kaino left off.

      Kaino had shoulder issues and the way he hit, I’m not surprised. That kind of consistent physicality is hard to come by. Jerry Collins had it but there was also Todd Blackadder, Reuben Thorne, Taine Randell before them…

      I think Squire has the attributes. He just needs to find that consistent hard edge on defence. I think Sam Cane could give him tips with that.

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