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‘He’s a big man’: Brodie Retallick’s verdict on rising star Josh Lord

By Finn Morton
Josh Lord of the All Blacks during a New Zealand All Blacks training session at Mt Smart Stadium on June 28, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Towards the end of the All Blacks’ first on-field training session in Mendoza on Tuesday, Brodie Retallick and Josh Lord were both put through their paces before getting back on the team bus.

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Without doing anything too strenuous, much like the rest of the team, the pair both engaged in last-minute drills that focused on hand-eye coordination.

Lord was seen catching tennis balls towards the end of training, while Retallick was tasked with a similar challenge – but one that is much simpler for an All Black. Retallick was catching a rugby ball.

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Just a few minutes earlier, Retallick was working tirelessly with a series of shuttle runs alongside All Blacks captain Sam Cane.

With the scorching sun bearing down on the All Blacks at Marista Rugby Club, the Chiefs duo of Retallick and Lord continued to hone their craft ahead of the team’s first Test match of 2023.

The pair are at different stages of their rugby careers – polar opposites in that sense really – but were share the desire to get better. It’s what the legacy of the All Blacks requires.

After the training session, veteran Retallick couldn’t have spoken more highly of two-Test All Black Lord.

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“He’s a great player and he’s a big man – he’s the tallest one out of all of us. He’s probably the heaviest as well,” Retallick told reporters in Mendoza on Tuesday.

“He’s got a great skillset for a big man and (he’s) fast. He’s had a bit of a bad run, an unlucky run probably with a few injuries as of late.

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“I’m sure that when he gets the opportunity, he’s going to impose himself out there.”

At just 22 years of age, Lord has already made his mark in the black jersey with a couple of appearances back in 2021.

After making his Test debut against the United States in Washington, Lord – who is the fifth tallest player in All Blacks history – donned the famous jersey again against Italy.

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But as Retallick alluded to, injuries have stopped the rising star from entering the fray of international rugby again.

Lord missed a majority of this year’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign with the Chiefs, but returned from an 11 month stint on the sidelines with a handful of rounds left in the regular season.

The second rower made a steady return to professional rugby, and didn’t really dominate at any stage – but the All Blacks selectors like him, that much is clear.

Lord was selected in the 36-man squad for The Rugby Championship, and could potentially line up for New Zealand against Los Pumas this weekend.

Before the Super Rugby Pacific Final defeat to the champion Crusaders, Lord told RugbyPass that he was eager to learn “as much as I can from” All Blacks greats Retallick and Sam Whitelock.

“I guess I’m just pretty excited to be back in there in the mix, playing with the best team in the world,” Lord said.

“I guess it’s always going to be pretty special when you’ve got the likes of Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock to learn a bit from them.

“I think this is going to be their last year in the All Blacks so I’m just going to take as much as I can from them and take it with me for the rest of my career.”

The All Blacks play Argentina in Mendoza at 7.10 am NZST on Sunday morning.

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Comments

8 Comments
R
Ruby 376 days ago

I saw him as one of the few standouts in their end of year tour in 2021, good to see him back.

G
Greg 377 days ago

Pretty sure he got injured again after he came back from the ACL - concussion or another niggle from the knee? - which set him back so that he couldn't get enough game time before the finals.

O
Otagoman II 379 days ago

Heaviest? Lord might be good in the future but he was not regarded enough to make the Chiefs bench for the final.

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Turlough 4 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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