Kaino learning second-row ropes

Date published: September 9 2015

All Blacks flank Jerome Kaino is adding a new string to his bow as he learns some of "dark arts" involved in playing in the second row.

The veteran loose forward, who was a key member of New Zealand's 2011 World Cup-winning team, has been earmarked to provide back up for the second row after the Kiwi selectors made the bold choice of picking just three specialist locks in their 31-man group travelling to England.

With 61 Test caps under his belt, Kaino has enough experience to adapt to new situations and played an hour at lock during a training session in Auckland this week.

"It wasn't too bad," said 32-year-old on Wednesday ahead of the team's departure on Thursday.

"Obviously you have to stick your head in some dark places in the tight five, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it adds a string to my bow."

Scrum coach Mike Cron has been working with Kaino to eased his transition into the tight five, which involves more that just set-piece work but also adjusting running lines and targets

"The running lines] are different but we understand the game that we want to play and what we want to achieve so it isn't too hard to adapt," he said.

"Wherever the coaches want me, I'll jump and scrum wherever they want me to.

"There are different areas you need to work on – obviously the dark arts of scrummaging.

"But I've been there before and I've scrummaged, and Crono has got some good tips for me. It wasn't too bad. I wouldn't call it hard. It was different."

The Blues veteran is one of 14 survivors from the 2011 squad having played all of the All Blacks' seven games. The core experience of the group will be invaluable in this year's edition but Kaino insists they must keep looking forward, and not rest on their laurels. 

"It's good and we'll take a lot of confidence out of that, but I think being world champions, having that title doesn't give us anything," he explained. 

"We've got to look at it as a new challenge and getting over there, everyone's going to be wanting to knock us off, so we've got to prepare and can't live on the 2011 victory to get us through.

"We've got to start new and look at it as a new challenge."