New Zealand Rugby has congratulated Blues captain Jerome Kaino who will bring up his century of Super Rugby games against the Cheetahs in South Africa this week.
31-year-old Kaino has again been named to captain the side in the round three match against the Cheetahs at Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, on Friday night. (NZT Kick off: Saturday 28 February, 6.10am)
It’s a worthy honour for the world-class loose forward who made his Super Rugby debut in 2004 as a rangy 20 year old. Kaino, who has also notched up 56 Tests for the All Blacks, including a Rugby World Cup winners’ medal in 2011, becomes the 35th New Zealand player to rack up a century of Super games and joins a select group of Blues players to reach the milestone.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said: “On behalf of all rugby fans, I want to congratulate Jerome on this significant achievement. He plays his rugby with an uncompromising physicality and for him to be at the top of his game in a demanding position for many years now, is a real credit to his professionalism.”
Blues hooker Keven Mealamu, who will become the most capped Super player of all time (163) when he next takes the field, has paid tribute to his long-time teammate.
“Everyone knows that his major attributes are his presence and physical presence on the field,” Mealamu said.
“I have been lucky enough to be there since the start of his career and to see him blossom as a leader. People probably do not realise that Jerome has a very good understanding of rugby and his position. In our team he is a guru of defence, not just because he of his own physicality, but also his intricate knowledge of the game and defensive systems. He is a very smart player.”
Kaino will be presented with a special pounamu mere – the traditional New Zealand Rugby gift for significant milestones – at the Blues home game next weekend against the Lions at QBE Stadium in Albany.
Other Super centurions from the Blues include current teammates Tony Woodcock and former Highlanders halfback Jimmy Cowan; and former Blues players Ali Williams, John Afoa, Alby Mathewson, Justin Collins, Mils Muliaina, Carlos Spencer and Doug Howlett. Other Super centurions who have played for the Blues include Ma’a Nonu, Piri Weepu and Caleb Ralph.