Breaking News: The All Blacks management have publicly announced this afternoon that squad member Jerome Kaino has left the All Blacks team on Game Day, for ‘Personal Reasons’.
This development follows unconfirmed newspaper reports published in Australia and New Zealand. These were of personal details of an ‘extra-marital affair [not confirmed by the player or his management at time of publishing] by Jerome Kaino.
All this comes hard on the heels of accusations in media that Aaron Smith may not have revealed all the details surrounding his suspension from the team, in October 2017. The woman involved this week went public, with personal information leaked to the public.
The hint of controversy has clouded the build-up to the Bledisloe Cup match tonight. Although Kaino was not selected for the test match, Smith was and is [at the time of publishing] due to start the game at halfback.
Jerome Kaino Leaves All Blacks Squad for Personal Reasons
In recent hours, news has been growing of an alleged extra-marital affair. But with the Australian and New Zealand media revealing such personal details, it is reasonable that the non-playing squad member has been given permission to exit the group.
Kaino has not made a public statement, however a public post on Facebook from his partner has asked for privacy. Understandably, Last Word on Rugby respect the personal nature of the accusations and will not reveal that content.
All Blacks Hugely Distracted by External Issues
If ever a test match build-up has been disrupted, then this week has been a ‘storm of controversy’ like never before. The whole group will feel like the external issues seem to be mounting–on top of the challenge that Australia will present on the field.
External Distractions Faced by the All Blacks:
- Sydney trial of former security consultant Adrian Gard continued, with daily reports in Australian media [Gard was charged with making a false representation resulting in a police investigation]
- Captain Kieran Read had to give evidence on Thursday, as a character witness
- Aaron Smith was been accused of not fully revealing the full details of his ‘toilet tryst’ at Christchurch Airport, in 2016. New Zealand Rugby have begun a new investigation on the matter–to be completed
- Woman involved in this encounter goes public on New Zealand television show Seven Sharp, with excerpts of personal texts being broadcast publicly
- Head coach Steve Tew faces questions on the Aaron Smith issue, and declares that NZR are making their own investigation on the topic. Smith retains his starting place
- Friday: Adrian Gard cleared for his part in the 2016 hotel bugging trial
- Saturday: Jerome Kaino chooses to leave the squad, with the All Blacks posting a tweet at 2pm (NZT)
With all this pressure, the rugby has been a secondary issue for some in the media. The public interest appears to be split, from listening to ‘sports talk’ radio. Many saying it takes away from the game, yet others believe they are held up as ideals, for being in a national team.
Role models or not, the fact this has all played out during an important test match build-up, must offer some distraction for both players and fans alike.
The first match of The Rugby Championship will kick-off at 8:05 (AUS time) in Sydney.
With this developing story, Last Word on Rugby respect all parties right to privacy. As a news story though, the Editor has chosen to state the facts as reported; with no ambiguity or inference.
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