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Brodie Retallick reveals what he told Peter O’Mahony after World Cup thriller

By Finn Morton
Aaron Smith, Brodie Retallick and Damian McKenzie of New Zealand sing their national anthem prior to the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between Ireland and New Zealand at Stade de France on October 14, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Justin Setterfield - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Former All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick has revealed what was said between him and Irish flanker Peter O’Mahony after last year’s thrilling World Cup quarter-final at Stade de France.

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While New Zealand led their favoured opponents by 28-24 in October, Ireland had all the possession as the clock ticked beyond the 80-minute mark and into ‘final play’ territory.

Playmaker and captain Johnny Sexton steered the Irish around the park as they fought desperately for the go-ahead points, but time wasn’t on their side.

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Veteran All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock secured a match-winning penalty at the breakdown which saw the New Zealanders march on and Ireland’s quarter-final curse continue.

With a full house watching on – including what felt like half of Dublin – emotions were riding high for both teams, and that carried on beyond the full-time whistle.

All Blacks centre Rieko Ioane apparently shared some words with Sexton, while lock Brodie Retallick reportedly told Peter O’Mahony: “Oi Peter, four more years you ****wit.”

Ireland had beaten the All Blacks in a series on New Zealand for the first time the year before, and the rivalry and passion that stemmed from those Tests lived on at the Parisian venue.

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“I said what was reported,” Retallick said on the What a Lad podcast.

“When they beat us in Wellington in that series, he was just into us on the field, spraying us left, right, and centre.

“I enjoy it – when you’re having your day, you let them know it, but I’m definitely going to give it back when we’re having our day, and what better moment than that one right there, that’s for sure.”

The All Blacks were not expected to win that Test. For the first time in World Cup history, New Zealand were widely considered the underdogs ahead of that quarter-final.

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But after shocking the rugby world with a win over Andy Farrell’s men, New Zealand dominated Argentina a week later in the semis – setting up a blockbuster in the World Cup final.

Defending champions South Africa waited for them in the final, and after a red card to All Blacks captain Sam Cane during the first half, the Springboks held on for a one-point win.

“When we played South Africa at Twickenham 10 weeks before that game, we had a similar scenario so we’d actually put in heaps of time (into training that),” Retallick explained.

“We went to Germany after that game and probably for a day and a half we’re just recreating a scenario – red cards, yellow cards, different players out, what we would do.

“So when it happened it wasn’t a shock because we were prepared for it.

“But I guess at the end of the day, (when) two of the best teams are going at it, there’s not much room, there’s not much opportunity and we just didn’t quite get the opportunities to get across the line and they were able to squeeze it.”

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Poorfour 5 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

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