Friday 18 August 2017

All Blacks flanker Jerome Kaino set to undergo surgery in race to be fit for Lions tour

Jerome Kaino of New Zealand during New Zealand Rugby Squad Training at Garda RFC in Westmanstown, Dublin. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Jerome Kaino of New Zealand during New Zealand Rugby Squad Training at Garda RFC in Westmanstown, Dublin. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Two-time World Cup winner and former IRB International Player of the Year nominee Jerome Kaino may miss this summer's Lions tour of New Zealand with the All Blacks flanker set to undergo a minor operation on a meniscus tear in his knee on Friday.

Kaino, who is widely regarded as New Zealand's first-choice blindside flanker for this summer's visit of the Lions, could miss anywhere between four to six weeks with the injury.

The latter prognosis would see the 34-year-old return on the 9th of June, exactly six weeks after his surgery and two weeks before the All Blacks first test against the Lions in Auckland on the 24th of June.

The Blues backrower suffered the injury against the Hurricanes two weeks ago although Blues assistant Steve Jackson said that he was confident that Kaino would be able to make a successful return in time for the Lions tour.

"He was feeling it and it was locking up on him," Jackson told reporters in Auckland.

"Potentially he could have played but it was causing discomfort and if it locked up during game time we would have had to replace him anyway.

"He'll get his feet up and normally you come back quick from those sorts of operations. I'm pretty sure he'll be fine for the Lions tour."

Kaino will face plenty of competition for a place in the All Blacks starting XV this summer with teammate Steven Luatua, Highlanders duo Elliot Dixon and Liam Squire, and Chiefs talisman Liam Messam all in contention for a place in Steve Hansen's side.

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