All Blacks flanker Jerome Kaino is to call time on his international career at the end of the 2018 Super Rugby season.
The 34-year-old will move to the Top 14 at the conclusion of the campaign, though his next destination within the country is as yet unknown.
Taking to his Instagram account on Tuesday, the Blues man made the announcement to end the speculation surrounding his future, thanking all and sundry in New Zealand rugby as well as his friends and family for the help they have all given him throughout his career:
View this post on Instagram
After much speculation I want to confirm that I will be leaving NZ Rugby at the end of the 2018 Blues campaign. I want to thank NZRU, Auckland rugby, the Blues and the All Blacks for the opportunities and constant development I have been given. My coaches, managers, trainers, physios, Docs, staff, sponsors, media for the years of support and guidance. Finally and most importantly to my FAMILY and the FANS the people who have made my career here in NZ such a special experience, you have been amazing, I will forever be grateful. But for now it’s back to work with my @bluesrugbyteam brothers 💙 #onelastridewithmybrothers Faafetai Lava. @kaino_tribe
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen paid tribute to Kaino ahead of his departure later this year, stating that the player will leave for a new challenge with the best wishes of those he is leaving behind:
“Jerome will leave New Zealand rugby with our best wishes.
“He’s had a long and distinguished career in the All Blacks jersey and brought a physicality and skill level to his game which made him the best in the world in his position.
“He can be rightly proud of everything he has achieved in the All Blacks, which included helping win two Rugby World Cups.
“I’d like to thank him for his service and also want to acknowledge his wife Di and the family for their outstanding support for him and the team over many years. It has certainly been appreciated and we wish them all the very best wishes for the next chapter of their lives.”
Kaino made his senior debut for New Zealand in 2004 against the Barbarians, but had to wait until 2006 (against Ireland) for his full test debut. He has gone on to win 81 caps in the years since, scoring 60 points and playing a big role in the back-to-back World Cup victories in 2011 and 2015.