All Blacks legend and World Cup winner Jerome Kaino hung up his rugby boots in victorious fashion as Toulouse secured another Top 14 title at the Stade de France.
Kaino has been an essential part of Toulouse’s renaissance in recent years ever since joining the club in 2018. He scored just two tries during his tenure but the influence he had on his fellow team-mates has been the most transformational in Toulouse’s return to glory.
Born in Samoa, Kaino cut his teeth in New Zealand thanks to his adopted hometown of Auckland at age level before making his professional debut for the Blues in Super Rugby in 2004.
From then on, he represented the All Blacks on no fewer than 83 times, competing in three world cups, winning two of them in 2011 and 2015.
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He made his New Zealand debut against the Barbarians in 2004, a game which the All Blacks won 47-19 and one in which Kaino scored on his first start.
Come the 2011 World Cup, Kaino was instrumental and played every minute of New Zealand’s games, bar the final few seconds of their semi-final against Australia.
Kaino was also a major part of the victorious 2015 squad and scored a try in both the quarter-final win over France and the semi-final victory over South Africa. Like Sonny Bill Williams and Sam Whitelock, Kaino played in the final against Australia, their 14th consecutive world cup success together.
Kaino will stay with Toulouse from next season after accepting a coaching role alongside head coach Ugo Mola. With the former All Black onboard in the backroom staff, it’s hard to see Toulouse losing any of its re-found momentum.