In moves that reduce the All Blacks pool of International caps by 150 tests, two senior men this week have called time on their roles with New Zealand. Each will conclude this years Super Rugby campaigns, as Wyatt Crockett elected to end his All Blacks career, while Jerome Kaino signs with Toulouse French Top14 club.
Even though age may have played a part, with just one year until the 2019 Rugby World Cup, both might have been motivated to aim toward Japan. But for one man, time over Christmas with family proved the counter to that goal.
And for Kaino, the writing appeared to be on the wall. After personal issues and younger players displaced the ‘still feared’ loose forward, it seemed the call of the French club competition was stronger than a desire to *add to his 80 International caps.
Crockett calls time on All Blacks Career, Jerome Kaino signs with Toulouse
New Zealand Rugby seemed to be both respective of, and complimentary for both men’s contributions. Two distinctly different men, but each a solid representation of the qualities needed to wear ‘All Black’.
TRIBUTE | 71-Test All Black Wyatt Crockett retires from International rugby.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) February 26, 2018
Wyatt Crockett – Born January 24, 1983
Many will see Crockett as a tall scrum forward, who developed and worked on his game. At times a focus of referees, he adapted and managed his height to become an advantage–seeing him selected on 70 times for the All Blacks.
The perseverance has paid dividends, when he became a ‘super sub’ often coming in to finish off winning matches. That included the successful 2015 test matches against South Africa and the vital pool game v Argentina, at the 2015 RWC.
A legend in Super Rugby, winning player of the year in 2011. He then became Mr Consistent, accumulating 188 caps – the leading player, with an aim to complete his career with an impressive 200 games [injury and form pending].
Once completed – including a possible defence of the Crusaders Super Rugby title – Wyatt Crockett will not ‘chase the dollars’. He has signed for two seasons of Mitre 10 Cup rugby with the Tasman Mako. Those admirable qualities again shine through, as he continues his involvement with NZ Rugby.
— Mitre10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) February 26, 2018
Jerome Kaino – Born April 6, 1983.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) February 27, 2018
Formidable, incomparable and for many years, the most devastating loose forward tackler in the game. At 1.94m and weighing 110 kilograms, he developed from a lanky youngster with the 2004 squad, to being one of the leading figures in Auckland Rugby.
‘Jerome is the gladiator of the Blues team, a leader by deeds rather than words’ – Blues website.
Part of a triumphant-trio of loose forwards, he accompanied Kieran Read and Richie McCaw in two successful Rugby World Cups. A phenomenal record, as he left New Zealand for a season to Japan, only to fight his way back into the All Blacks, and carry on a proud record of 81 test caps.
Proud of his Samoan heritage, humble in his dealings with fans, but feared and respected on the field. Kaino was still a member of the team who faced the British and Irish Lions team this year, before form and personal issues saw him left back in New Zealand for the final tests of 2017.
Both Players fully focused on Super Rugby duties
The Blues play their second match of the 2018 Super Rugby season, when they face the Chiefs. After missing the opening match, Jerome Kaino will run-out for his 128th game. The one-time captain must now play a ‘drill sergeant’ role to inspire and push his younger team mates this week.
— Super Rugby Fans (@SuperRugbyFans) February 28, 2018
Blues v Chiefs – Friday March 2, Eden Park
Wyatt Crockett, who debuted for the Crusaders in 2006, will run out for yet another game for his ‘red and black’. A consistent achiever, even after calling time on his AB’s term, he will fully serve-out this years Super Rugby season, like he has done for over a decade.
Crusaders v Stormers – Saturday March 3, AMI Stadium
* the New Zealand All Blacks team is only selected from players who perform on the domestic rugby scene. As Kaino signs with Toulouse, it means he is no longer eligible to be selected.
“Main photo credit”
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