Samoa deserves to host more Super rugby games.
That’s the firm belief of Auckland Blues captain and veteran All Black, Jerome Kaino, ahead of the historic first Super Rugby clash between his team and the Queensland Reds in Apia.
As a vocal advocate for more inclusive rugby, the All Black shared in an exclusive interview with the Samoa Observer that bringing more top games to Samoa will help develop the game on the island.
“At the top level, its not Samoa’s fault, its World Rugby’s job to give Samoa more exposure to top teams,” Kaino said.
“Samoa’s playing the All Blacks this year but its not consistent with the top level games. The more top level games Samoa gets, the better funding and better equipped the players will be and it will filter down to the grassroots.”
After a few days in Apia, Kaino said he likes what he has seen.
“ I think the grassroots definitely, I think everyone’s heading in the right direction. Mahonri Schwalger’s got an academy and you’ve got some other academies here as well.
“I think club rugby is strong and the village development is strong.”
Debuting in Auckland 13 years ago, Kaino has played at the highest echelon of rugby.
He said having good mentors helped him along the way.
“I’ve been lucky throughout the years to have good mentors,” he said.
“Michael Jones has been one and I’ve never been short of good advice from some of the older guys. I’ve been really fortunate to go through my career and have some older guys there to guide me through the way.”
And after thirteen years at the top, Kaino hinted that he might be hanging up his boots soon.
“I couldn’t give you a straight answer right now,” he said.
“I don’t see myself playing for too much longer. I’ve done enough planning financially with my wife to cope with that day that I do decide to retire.”
Kaino is a son of Samoa with roots in Matatufu, Lotofaga, Fausaga and Satupaitea Savai’i.
He said his strong familial ties always brings him back home.
“Both sets of grandparents have passed away now,” he said.
“The last time I was here was to bury my last living grandparent. I have a close link with my uncle and aunties that are still here and that’s why I love coming back.”
Kaino married at Aggie’s Grey Beach Resort at Mulifanua back in 2011 and shared that he loves brining his children back to Samoa to learn the fa’asamoa.
“It’s good to learn their culture and the fa’asamoa way and the best way is just to bring them over here and experience everything. That’s why I love coming back home,” Kaino said.
“I’m looking forward to having some time off and spending some time with my kids. We do travel a lot playing rugby through out the years and I do owe them some time. Probably think about the next phase from there.”