Jerome Kaino heads back to New Zealand for personal reasons

Jerome Kaino was not part of the New Zealand line-up against Australia in Sydney
Jerome Kaino was not part of the New Zealand line-up against Australia in Sydney

New Zealand Rugby has confirmed flanker Jerome Kaino has headed back home ahead of the Rugby Championship opening clash against Australia in Sydney due to personal reasons.

The news comes after a publication from Australia's Daily Telegraph which alleged the 34-year-old of having an extra-marital affair with a Canberra based model.

Kaino was earlier left out of the matchday squad by head coach Steve Hansen for the Bledisloe Cup opening contest with Liam Squire being the preferred choice.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew expressed regret over the latest development and promised a fair review on the issue.

"We certainly understand that our game and our players are under public scrutiny and these latest stories are concerning. As an employer, we will take some time to assess this.

"While NZR does not wish to comment on individual behaviour, it is clear that this is really hurting rugby, all the people concerned, our fans and supporters. We take these issues very seriously, and are also mindful that these issues affect people with families and loved ones.

"At a time when we are grappling with our cultural reputation, the Respect and Responsibility Review, which is currently under way, is even more important. The Review is being presented to the NZR Board this month and we are looking to make that public sometime in September."

Earlier, this week, the New Zealand board had launched an investigation on the 'toilet tryst' scandal involving half-back Aaron Smith that saw him suspended for a match in October last year.

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