Ross Karl: Jerome Kaino's silent departure raises a few questions

Jerome Kaino will play the season out with the Blues before heading offshore.
Jerome Kaino will play the season out with the Blues before heading offshore. Photo credit: Photosport

OPINION: Jerome Kaino's not talking about his departure from New Zealand Rugby at the end of the season.

New Zealand Rugby and the Blues haven't put him up for interview, and agent Bruce Sharrock can be a tough man to get hold of.

It raises a few questions. Firstly, why is he leaving?

All we've seen is an Instagram message and it doesn't address that. It seems we won't find out today.

Considering Wyatt Crockett, the only incumbent All Black older than Kaino, retired yesterday, they may have had a heads-up on their World Cup prospects. It seems like too much of a coincidence that they're so close together.

Liam Squire, Vaea Fifita, Kane Hames and Nepo Laulala seem ready to step up in time for 2019.

Of course, it's his right not to talk, but he's a great All Black. He was a colossus at two World Cups and has no reason to be ashamed of leaving.

So why isn't he talking?

Considering every man and his dog talked about Wyatt Crockett announcing his Test retirement, this seems like Kaino's decision, not the rugby officials.

It's not that he finds media duties tough. He fronted on his return from personal issues last season.

He fronted after collecting a yellow card in the Lions tour decider. He handled both situations with aplomb.

Maybe he doesn't want his personal life discussed again.

There's strong debate about what should be reported on a player's private life. Where is the line drawn?

In my opinion, if off-field indiscretions directly impact performance or selection, that's part of the story.

Kaino left Sydney last year due to personal issues, so they had to be mentioned.

Questions can be asked to a point, but relationship details and the nitty gritty of what happened behind the scenes are best left alone.

That's their business and once it's stopped affecting their performance, it's no longer a factor.

Most sports journos I've met agree.

In this case, Kaino's fall from being top-choice All Blacks number six started in Sydney, when he left the team, therefore, it's part of his departure story.

It opened the door for Liam Squire, who walked straight through, so it's fair to ask whether that was the beginning of the end.

I certainly wouldn't be asking for a relationship update though. That's where the line is drawn in this scenario.

He might not want to go down that track again, even if he had no trouble answering those questions. Of course, that's his choice. 

The questions will eventually come though - he won't go without media responsibilities all season. Maybe, by then, he'll be ready.

When he is, it would be nice to pay tribute to a great All Black. It'd be nice to acknowledge the big hits and hard runs.

It'd be nice to touch on his best memories and what his future holds.

For now, though, we'll have to wait.

Ross Karl is the rugby editor for Newshub.