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A game-changer and all-time greats: Brodie Retallick's Top 5 All Blacks

With Brodie Retallick and Samuel Whitelock no longer available, New Zealand have lost 262 caps of experience (Photo Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Over 1,200 players have played for the All Blacks since the New Zealand men’s national team made their debut in 1905.

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So selecting a handful of players as their country’s all-time best from that celebrated group is no easy task.

But with 109 caps in a stellar Test career heading into its 12th year, Brodie Retallick, All Blacks cap #1110, is better placed than most to pick out the top five All Blacks in history.

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Brodie Retallick opens up on Walk the Talk | Trailer | RPTV

All Blacks and lineout king Brodie Retallick opens up to Jim Hamilton in the latest episode of Walk the Talk. Full episode coming soon, exclusively to RugbyPass TV

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Brodie Retallick opens up on Walk the Talk | Trailer | RPTV

All Blacks and lineout king Brodie Retallick opens up to Jim Hamilton in the latest episode of Walk the Talk. Full episode coming soon, exclusively to RugbyPass TV

Coming Soon

Speaking to Jim Hamilton on Walk the Talk, coming later today (Friday July 4) on RugbyPass TV, the 33-year-old lock didn’t hesitate to put forward his long-time second-row partner and most-capped All Black, Sam Whitelock, as his first nomination.

“He’s the most-capped; there is a reason you can endure (Test rugby for so long), and the professionalism and the ability to play means he’s definitely in the top five, for me.”

Pressed to select the rest, in descending order, Retallick put forward Dan Carter as his all-time best.

Carter is still the world’s leading points scorer, despite retiring nearly a decade ago, and won three World Rugby Player of the Year awards over a 10-year period in which he also became a double Rugby World Cup champion.

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“Number one, I would have to go Dan Carter. He’s an absolute wizard, as we all know.

“I was lucky enough to play with him here (in Japan) for a couple of seasons and even at 38 he was the last to leave the training field, always kicking goal. Just his level of professionalism.”

Carter’s partner-in-crime, Richie McCaw, the only player to match his three World Rugby Player of the Year awards comes a close second.

“Obviously, same thing: a legend and so good with his leadership on and off the field.”

From those double Rugby World Cup champions, Retallick goes for Aaron Smith – one of the stars of the triumphant 2015 campaign – as his third pick.

“I played with Nuggy (Smith) a long time. He is an unreal No.9, obviously, and then just his ability to play and his competitiveness; he could still be there, right now.

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“Obviously he is playing over in Japan but with how good he is, I think he could continue on if he wanted to.”

Retallick’s fourth choice is a player who broke the mould, a hooker who is equally as comfortable on the wing as he is in the thick of the action upfront.

“Number four would be Dane Coles,” says Retallick.

“He probably changed the game a little bit in terms of what a hooker does with his skillset and his speed.

“Again, he is so niggly, and I enjoy that side of the game.”

With Whitelock coming in at No.5, Retallick’s special group has 628 caps between them, along with multiple winner’s medals and a legacy that will last the test of time.

Brodie Retallick’s Top 5 All Blacks

  1. Dan Carter (112 caps)
  2. Richie McCaw (148 caps)
  3. Aaron Smith (125 caps)
  4. Dane Coles (90 caps)
  5. Sam Whitelock (153 caps)
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Comments

2 Comments
J
Jasyn 8 days ago

Easily the best lock in the world for years there. Never quite the same after the Snyman “cleanout”.

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