The New Zealand man has been accused of trying to intentionally hurt Conor Murray whilst the Munster man was taking a box kick in the 10th minute of the first Test. When attempting to block the kick, Kaino landed on Murray’s standing leg and has been singled out by many as deliberately trying to hurt the Patrickswell native.
While many of the All Blacks collided with Murray throughout the game, it was the Kaino incident which appears to have garnered the most reaction from Warren Gatland and subsequently the press. However, the experienced flanker has attempted to clear his name.
“I think what is at question here is my intent and what kind of player I am, and all I can say is that I never go into a game thinking that I am going to target someone and intentionally hurt them. I just wanted to clear that up.”
“It is never our intention to go out and intentionally injure someone outside the laws.
“We play hard and we play fair. That incident was a one-off. It is never our intention to go out and try and single anyone out.
“It was more (about) timing. He is very quick getting the ball to foot, and there was a bit of timing there.
“But what has been said out there about malice and intention to hurt someone, that is never the case. It wasn’t my intention to hurt anyone, and to play outside the rules. I wasn’t cited. I don’t think I should have been.
Kaino admitted that the incident has been brought to his attention a number of times since the First Test.
“I’ve seen it reviewing the game and it has popped up on my Twitter feed about a million times, so it is a bit hard to avoid it.
“It is never nice when you have things done to you outside the laws, and the way we do things, it’s within the spirit of the game.
“I didn’t go in to tackle him. I rolled into his leg. What I was trying to do, his swinging foot – if you can disrupt that – it’s like an ankle-tap, so you disrupt the kick. My timing was off, and I rolled into his planted foot, and that’s what I believed happened.”
Regardless of intent, the media attention that had followed will surely see players conscious of their efforts to stop Murray at rucks, with the referee sure to take a stern view on anything he feels to be deliberately harmful.