Kaino defends under-fire Williams

Jerome Kaino (Gallo Images)
Jerome Kaino (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - All Blacks flanker Jerome Kaino has defended Sonny Bill Williams after the centre was sent off during Saturday's second Test against the British and Irish Lions in Wellington.

French referee Jerome Garces issued a red card to Williams in the 25th minute for his shoulder charge on Lions wing Anthony Watson in the Lions' 24-21 victory.

Despite doing well with 14 men for most of the match, the All Blacks eventually conceded two late tries and Owen Farrell's match-winning penalty.

And although Kaino expects Williams' critics to lay into the cross-code star, he said his team-mate is downhearted by his indiscretion.

"Naturally he'll be disappointed but he went into that with the best intentions," Kaino told AAP.

"It wasn't out of malice or anything. I really feel for him. Naturally he'll be feeling it's his fault."

Kaino was the player taken off and replaced by Ngani Laumape soon after Williams' exit as the All Blacks decided to play with one man less in the forwards and to maintain seven backs against seven.

And although he was disappointed to come off, Kaino was impressed that his team managed to stay in the match until the end.

"I thought the guys played well in the middle stages of the game," he said.

"It was just the beginning and the end which cost us."

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