JEROME Kaino has returned to New Zealand, leaving the All Blacks Bledisloe Cup camp in Sydney after The Daily Telegraph alleged that he had been cheating on his wife with a former Australian model.
The flanker, who was unlikely to start in Saturday's match against the Wallabies, heads home to deal with the fallout from the reports that have cast an unhelpful cloud over the team's preparations.
Ex-model Tara Pokarier met up with Kaino in hotels in Auckland, Sydney and Brisbane, the Telegraph reported, before discovering he was married.
"She was absolutely devastated when she realised he had a wife and kids," a close friend of the 24-year-old said from Canberra.
"Clearly there is a cultural problem within the team if this type of thing is going on."
New Zealand Rugby had already reopened its investigation into halfback Aaron Smith's sexual encounter in an airport toilet cubicle, his latest scandal leaving the All Blacks' previously invincible reputation in tatters.
NZR chief executive Steve Tew said in a statement: "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."
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