(Reuters) - Jerome Kaino aims to use rugby as an escape from his personal issues after earning a recall to the New Zealand squad for the autumn internationals.
The veteran 81-test loose forward was sent home before a Rugby Championship fixture against Australia in August to address media reports surrounding his private life. He last wore the test jersey for the All Blacks in the British and Irish Lions series in July.
“It has been tough, but being able to deal with that (personal issues) away from footie and away from the team, the coaches, the All Blacks and the Rugby Union have been great,” the 34-year-old told reporters on Tuesday.
“It’s going to take a lot of time, but I‘m able to use rugby as an escape to hopefully focus on something else. It’s an ongoing process.”
Kaino has played in three provincial games for Auckland and the All Blacks ‘game of three halves’ since the Lions series and is now keen on featuring in Saturday’s clash with the Barbarians at Twickenham.
The world champions will then go on to play tests against France, Scotland and Wales and Kaino was determined to make the most of his time back in the fold.
“There have been a lot of lessons. Obviously I‘m still working through a lot of things,” he added. “Hopefully I can take my opportunity that may hopefully come this weekend.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru