You'd hardly know this is an Auckland lad since we've all seen him grow with the 'saders and AB's, but he is and he's making others around him look good too.
I was once a knocker, seeing yet another average player ride the coat-tails of a few outstanding individuals and an outstanding organisation to be selected for higher honours - at the expense of other outstanding individuals who were playing in a lesser environment.
But I have to admit that this guy has grown on me. This is especially so when you see the recent combination with McCaw and Kaino. Three 'nice guys' who've developed into a ruthless trio on the park.
Living outside of the Canterbury and Crusaders territory, I've come to have a disliking for people from that part of the world. The one-eyed refs, the even more one-eyed fans, and the relentless winning coming from there and not here makes me sick! Well, really that winning culture makes me highly jealous and I wonder why other organisations find it to impossible to repeat. Kieren is one who has worked hard, and he has grown to be a key member of the mix.
Come back to Auckland fella!
Bring some of that stability and culture back to your home town and balance out the individual flair that oozes from these fields. Heck, if I was in the mix there'd be talk of captaincy on the cards.
Unfortunately I can't see this happening, and the talent will stay amongst those red and black southern men. For sure he'll continue to shine at the provincial and Super rugby levels.
But the real question is how far can this guy go?
This will be a year of reckoning for Kieran as he shoulders arms through the Trinations and then Rugby World Cup. He's going to smash into mountains of world class talent from other shores, and be in the spotlight at a time when comparison can be easily made. It's going set the scene for him to cement a position in history as a great eight.
My pick is that he will shine through. It won't come with flashes of brilliant flair that fill the highlight reels, but the talent will be obvious through all round quality. A smart guy who does the right things, who uncompromisingly never gives an inch, who keeps to the team plan, but is still there pushing every angle, gaining the advantage line and presenting opportunity to those around him.
Well that's the theory... let's enjoy the ride and find out!