Kaino is 'like a caged animal'
Tom Hamilton in Auckland
June 5, 2014
Jerome Kaino back in training for the All Blacks and he will start on Saturday © Getty Images
Steve Hansen has described Jerome Kaino as being "like a caged animal" as the World Cup-winner prepares to make his first start for the All Blacks in three years.
Kaino journeyed to Japan after the 2011 World Cup triumph but returned to the Blues in time for the current season of Super Rugby. A mixture of his form for the Blues and Kieran Read's unavailability at No.8 has seen Kaino propelled back into international rugby ahead of Saturday's first Test against England.
"He's a bit like a caged animal - he's pretty keen to get out there," Hansen said of Kaino. "I never wanted him to go [to Japan] in the first place. We had a bit of a discussion about that but he always said he'd come back. He's come back at the right time, so that's great."
And despite having played much of his rugby over the past couple of years away from New Zealand, Kaino is adamant he can step-up to the intensity of Test rugby.
"I've felt good playing Super 15, with the amount of game time I've been getting the confidence has been growing," he said. "International rugby is a different beast to Super 15 but I can take a bit of confidence from that into Saturday night.
"I'm pretty comfortable [at No 8] and I've got the players around me to help me out. I haven't played too much there at All Black level but I'm confident in the group that we have to get the job done."
After a season at the Blues, Kaino is no stranger to Eden Park but for those who were involved in the 2011 World Cup triumph, the ground will always hold a special significance and Kaino is looking forward to running out there on Saturday.
"It's great to be part of the team," Kaino added. "To get a starting spot is even more special. I have some big shoes to fill. I don't think you could top a World Cup final win, but any cap is special so I'm looking forward to going out at Eden Park and putting on that jersey again."
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Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.