Kaino's 100 'a long time coming'
Blues captain, and the franchise's latest Investec Super Rugby centurion, Jerome Kaino will achieve a long-time goal when running out at the head of his team to play the Cheetahs on Saturday morning (NZT).
Playing his 100th game for the franchise had been one of the targets he set when returning from a stint in Japanese rugby last year.
Having first appeared in the blue and white in 2004, he said, "It's been a long time coming."
But ever the professional, he said he wasn't about to let the occasion cloud the main requirement for his side – securing their first win of the season.
Coach Sir John Kirwan said since returning from Japan, Kaino had given the side inspiration.
"It was incredible the way he came back and was so devastating since Week One. He is leading by example on and off the field, he has given a hard edge to the forward pack and they are travelling well," he said.
"The players are really excited about his feat. Luke Braid had the side wanting to make amends this week and there is a real focus to really work hard for Jerome this week," he said.
One of the benefits of playing so many games, Kaino said, was learning what made his body tick.
"That's really what I've learnt. I know how to get my body right," he said.
Kaino said there had been work-ons from the side's first two losses of the year but there was likely to be more seen of the counter to the lineout mauls African sides enjoy which was unveiled last week against the Stormers.
Kaino credited assistant coach Glenn Moore with coming up with the idea of standing off lineouts as the opposition looked to try and set up rolling mauls. But if they were uncontested the ploy was putting players in front of the ball off-side and it had worked well for the Blues last weekend.
"Glenn Moore thought we had to think outside of the square and it worked well for us once or twice. But we will have to be careful against the Cheetahs because they are a good driving side," he said.
Another feature for the side would be controlling their thinking about when to stay out of rucks and conceding penalties. Both areas had tapered off towards the end of last weekend's loss against the Stormers.