'I didn't have to do much work for it': Retallick downplays try
Retaining the Bledisloe Cup before heading over to Australia was always on the All Blacks‘ wish list, and after Saturday night’s 57-22 win over the Wallabies at Eden Park, that is now reality with the prized possession safe for another year.
All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick, who knows of nothing other than Bledisloe Cup success since the start of his career, was glad to have sealed the deal for another season without taking the series to a deciding test in Perth.
“It’s awesome to lock it up. To do it before heading to Perth in New Zealand is something that was a goal we wanted to do before hopping on the plane,” Retallick told media following the win.
“I thought it was a great Bledisloe test tonight. Australia really come out of the gates in the first 50-60 minutes so that was pleasing.”
Retallick has had some of his career highlights in Bledisloe Cup test matches, famously scoring from a 40 metre run in Sydney a few years ago which was voted World Rugby’s Try of the Year in 2018.
After originally getting the turnover at the ruck, the 30-yea-old got the ball on the left edge after his side ran it out of their half through Beauden Barrett.
Throwing a dummy to Bernard Foley, Retallick galloped away with his arm raised triumphantly in the air.
On whether his latest try was as good as one from a few years ago, the 85-test international was reluctant to say so as he “didn’t have to do much work” after loose forward Akira Ioane created the break down the left edge.
After some quick hands from Damian McKenzie, Retallick had an open line in front of him to score the try.
“Well I didn’t have to do much work for it,” he said of his latest effort, “Akira did all the work, but it’s nice to get a meat pie again, that’s for sure.”
The try was reminiscent of some of the runs Retallick made in the Top League earlier this year, where his athletic frame was used out side in an offload-friendly game plan at the Kobelco Steelers.
After his time playing in Japan, Retallick said he is relishing being back home playing for the All Blacks.
“Just being back in New Zealand and playing for the All Blacks is awesome. I think you can see it from the sideline, the boys are just enjoying have great fun out there tonight. There’s still things to tidy up and get better but playing Bledisloe test matches is pretty awesome and I’m loving being back.”
Despite discipline issues last week, the All Blacks coaches were reluctant to make changes to the run-on side in the forward pack, as loose forwards Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii and Ardie Savea and front rowers George Bower, Codie Taylor and Nepo Laulala played their second test in a row together.
Retallick said he has been impressed with the “outstanding” form of Akira Ioane, who has given the All Blacks consistent, strong carries alongside No 8 Ardie Savea.
“Last week I thought he was outstanding, and again tonight with plenty of ball-in-hand,” Retallick said of Ioane.
“He’s taken his opportunity, and when you’ve got loose forwards puncturing the backs in the outside channel, it makes it easier through the middle.
“It’s awesome to watch, and like you say, I’m sure he’s going to keep building on it and we’ve got plenty of challenges ahead of us for the rest of the test year.”
Retallick paired with long-time lock partner Sam Whitelock in the second row as the pack looked to lift their performance following the inaccuracy issues that were prevalent in the first test, something that Retallick himself contributed to as the most penalised man in the All Blacks.
“Last week we gave them a lot of opportunities through our discipline, especially in the forward pack around our offsides and our set piece penalties. It wasn’t a massive thing to tidy up but there was a lot of them last week,” he said.
“We worked hard all week at that and the Wallabies threw a lot more at us up front early on, which I thought was pleasing, we absorbed a little bit.
“Especially around our lineout defence and coming off the line. There were still periods where they carried through us, probably a bit too softly, but I thought it was a step up for the forward pack moving forward.
“Like you say, we’ve got a week off and then to Perth. That’s going to be another challenge but what is more pleasing is what we put on the park tonight compared to last week.”
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