Kaino won't be rushed back into All Blacks

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says Jerome Kaino won’t be rushed back into the New Zealand setup, as he deals with the fallout from infidelity allegations.

Kaino, who wasn’t picked in the All Blacks 23 for the clash, returned to New Zealand on the morning of the trans-Tasman clash after reports emerged of an extra-marital affair between he and an Australian model.

Hansen bristled at a question about Kaino's availability for the second Bledisloe, when asked after their 54-34 rout of Australia.

“I think that's a pretty loaded question,” he said.

“We all know what the problem is and he's got some stuff he's got to deal with. Once he's dealt with that, we'll make some decisions.”

New Zealand had no trouble sweeping away off-field dramas to roll the Wallabies with a record score against their trans-Tasman rivals, but it wasn’t so easy to sidestep the issues after the game.

Hansen bristled at questions about Kaino, including what the 34-year-old might be feeling after his return home.

“I've got no show of telling you what his headspace is like,” he said.

“You put yourself in his shoes, what would yours be like?

“There's been enough written about that already, it's a personal thing that he and his family have to deal with and there's no point us sitting here trying to talk about how he feels.

“If you're struggling with that, put yourself in his shoes and imagine what would be said and how you'd feel.

“Sport's not about that.”

Hansen also dismissed questions about the recently wrapped bugging court case, after new details emerged about police evidence on Saturday.

Though security guard Adrian Gard had his public mischief charge dismissed on Friday, details were published in News Corp on Saturday night that team manager Darren Shand pointed the finger at Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

While the All Blacks have publicly denied ever accusing the Wallabies of planting the bug, police documents reportedly show a statement from Shand, at odds with their public stance.

Hansen, though, would not buy into the issue on Saturday night.

“The bug case is over isn't it?. It’s over,” he said.

None of the week’s events seemed to affect the rampant All Blacks on the field, the area that Hansen said was the ultimate ledger.

“Rugby's always going to have some moments where you're not happy with what's going on but ultimately it's all about Saturday isn't it?,” he said.

“It's about winning the game and doing things right and doing things you can be proud of.

“We've done that tonight.”

New Zealand fly to Dunedin on Sunday ahead of Saturday’s second Bledisloe Test.