Kaino in line for All Blacks bow

Jerome Kaino could make his New Zealand debut against Australia after a call-up from coach Graham Henry. [more]

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Jerome Kaino could make his New Zealand debut against Australia after a call-up from coach Graham Henry.

The Auckland flanker could replace Jerry Collins against the Wallabies at Eden Park next Saturday, in a game the All Blacks must win to regain the Tri-Nations title.

Collins, capped 27 times, was cited by Australian Scott Nowland after New Zealand’s 31-27 win against South Africa in Dunedin.

He was found guilty of punching Springbok Jaco van der Westhuizen.

"Clearly, he was punching," All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen said.

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"But an incident broke out when one of his team-mates was getting punched by three other people.

"He went to his rescue. In the heat of battle, I know it’s not what’s meant to happen, but the whole thing about being an All Black is that we’re a team and we stick together."

Sione Lauaki and Marty Holah are other contenders to replace Collins when the team is announced on Tuesday.

Kaino, 22, toured Europe last November with the All Blacks and played against the Barbarians, but has yet to make a Test appearance.

Kaino’s inclusion is the only change to the squad. Daniel Carter (leg), Byron Kelleher (concussion) and Sitiveni Sivivatu (calf) were not considered.

Hooker Anton Oliver, who has missed the All Blacks Lions tour and Tri-Nations campaigns through injury, has signed a new two-year contract with the New Zealand and Otago rugby unions.

The former captain’s new deal runs until the 2007 World Cup and is also good news for the Highlanders, as he stays with the franchise for their first two Super 14 seasons.

"I’m just delighted he’s decided to stay," Highlanders and Otago chief executive Russell Gray said.

"He had plenty of options to pursue overseas but he recognises that he still has a lot to contribute to Otago, Highlanders and All Black rugby.

"It gives us some really good continuity. I know all our coaches are very happy with his decision.

"And I’m sure there are a number of players weighing up their futures who will be very interested to note he is staying."

Oliver has not played since sustaining a leg injury in May. He aims to return to competitive rugby in the NPC clash with Taranaki in Dunedin on September 24.

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