Kaino heads home ahead of Bledisloe Test

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

All Blacks flanker Jerome Kaino has returned to New Zealand on the morning of the opening Bledisloe match, after infidelity allegations emerged overnight.

Kaino, who was not named in the New Zealand 23 for the Sydney Test, left Australia on Saturday morning to 'deal with a personal matter'. according to a New Zealand Rugby statement.

His departure comes after a News Corp article published on Saturday detailed his alleged infidelity.,and at the end of a week in which teammate Aaron Smith has also been in the spotlight over text messages he sent amid his own sex scandal last year.

New Zealand Rugby released a statement on Saturday morning, saying they would be looking into both issues.

“We certainly understand that our game and our players are under public scrutiny and these latest stories are concerning," CEO Steve Tew said.

Aaron Smith will not face the Springboks. Photo: Getty Images"As an employer, we will take some time to assess this.

"While NZR does not wish to comment on individual behaviour, it is clear that this is really hurting rugby, all the people concerned, our fans and supporters.

"We take these issues very seriously, and are also mindful that these issues affect people with families and loved ones."

While the All  Blacks have been adamant off-field issues will not distract them from their task on the field, the news hits at the integrity of a team held up as international rolemodels.

Tew admitted the code was 'grappling with our cultural reputation'.

“At a time when we are grappling with our cultural reputation, the Respect and Responsibility Review, which is currently under way, is even more important.," he said.

"The Review is being presented to the NZR Board this month and we are looking to make that public sometime in September.”

The Wallabies take on the All Blacks on Saturday night, kicking off at 8pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten, WIN and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.