Jerome Kaino will say it was his predecessor, Jerry Collins, who set the physical benchmark for modern All Blacks blindsides.
That would be hard to dispute and there is no question that Kaino was inspired by Collins and determined to become just as tough and uncompromising when he came into the All Blacks in 2006.
But equally true is that Kaino has taken that benchmark and raised it. It is hard to think of any player in world rugby over the last decade who has made more big tackles than Kaino.
It is hard to think of anyone who carries the ball into contact harder than Kaino. And it is hard to think of any player who has been able to play like that at the top level for so long.
That’s been the incredible thing about Kaino – he’s been able to stay at the top level for more than 10 years and his body hasn’t fallen apart and his standards haven’t slipped.
What’s been just as interesting is in the 10 years-plus he’s been an All Black, so few players have been able to emulate his skills.
Plenty of young loose forwards have come into the national squad full of hope and confidence, but none have been able to display that same natural appetite for destruction as Kaino.
None have been able to grind out game after game the way he has and none have been able to establish themselves as genuinely imposing figures on the world stage the way he has.
Kaino, therefore, has been hugely influential in establishing expectations in a di cult role. He tackles harder than anyone in world rugby. He carries the ball into contact with a crunch few others can match, and every game he plays, Kaino is relentlessly confrontational and willing to impose himself.
He has become globally renowned for the physical intensity he brings. His reputation as a hard man is entirely deserved and built on memorable moments such as when he nearly chopped Welsh lock Bradley Davies in half back in 2010.
Or when he buckled Digby Ioane in the 2011 World Cup semifinal. For years to come there will be aspiring All Blacks blindsides who, like it or lump it, will be compared with Kaino.
He is the man whose standards they will have to reach.
BENCHMARK Jerome Kaino has set the standards for all future All Blacks blindsides.