Kaino says au revoir to All Blacks

Another All Black is off to France with veteran Blues loose forward Jerome Kaino leaving New Zealand at the end of the Super Rugby season.

The 34-year-old, a two-time World Cup winner, made his debut in 2004 and played 81 tests.

He is the third most capped Blues player in history with 127 games to date, behind fellow All Blacks Keven Mealamu (164) and Tony Woodcock (137).

One of the highlights of his All Blacks career was playing all but one minute of the All Blacks' successful 2011 World Cup campaign.

He had a two-year stint overseas playing in Japan before returning to New Zealand and playing his way back into the All Blacks.

Kaino scored 12 test tries.

He's yet to confirm which French club he's going to, but various media reports both in New Zealand and France have linked him to Toulouse or Toulon, where former All Blacks Ma'a Nonu and Malakai Fekitoa ply their trade.

Blues coach Tana Umaga believes the timing of Kaino's best moments during his rugby career speaks volumes about the departing All Blacks flanker and said the 34-year-old has left a huge mark on the game in this country.

"You've just got to look at his CV.

"Double World Cup champion, close to being player of year in those times. Big moments he plays big, that's the measure of the man."

The Blues are adamant that there is only one way to honour their departing talisman, and that is in their on- field performance.

"We certainly salute and honour Jerome for his incredible contribution to this club both on and off the field," Umaga said.

"We are just at the start of a very important Super Rugby campaign and Jerome has a big part to play in that. Our players will want to send him off in the best possible way by our work on the field and building performances."

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said: "On behalf of New Zealand Rugby, I'd like to acknowledge everything that Jerome has done for the game in New Zealand. He's had a massive impact in the Auckland, Blues and All Blacks jerseys.

"He helped set the benchmark for modern loose forward play with his dominant performances over the years, highlighted by his outstanding play at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups.

"We wish him and his family all the very best."

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen added: "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."