A revelation of sorts plus a sharp fend from All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick as he and his side kick off their week of preparations before a potentially epic Rugby World Cup semifinal clash against England; he has never watched Jonah Lomu’s heroics in this corresponding match in South Africa in 1995.
And he’s not buying into any provocation – accidental or otherwise – off the field, at least. As the big second-rower faced the media in Tokyo this afternoon alongside teammate Sam Cane, an English reporter raised what now feels like the ancient history of a press conference years ago when Retallick was asked to identify an England forward, and, momentarily lost for words, replied with “Michael Laws”, rather than Courtney Lawes.
His answer this time was more to the point; in fact some may say it hit the target.
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“A few years ago you didn’t seem to be aware of any names of the individual players,” the question began. “Is that the case anymore and what do you make of their second rowers in particular?”
Retallick, considering his answer for a couple of seconds, replied: “Is that supposed to be humorous? I made a mistake and called him the wrong name… a New Zealand politician. Yeah, good on ya. We have great respect for all the rugby players out there.
“Yeah, we know who they are and we know what they’re about so obviously we look at every opposition leading into the weekend. But we’re also certainly focused on what we’re going to do to get that right.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 21, 2019
If the 28-year-old’s response typified how Retallick plays; direct and occasionally brutal but generally within the spirit of the game, his answer to whether he watched the only other previous semifinal between the All Blacks and England was a little more unpredictable.
“I’ve never seen the ’95 game but I’ll be doing everything in my power, as the team will, to make sure we come out on top,” said Retallick, who, to be fair to him, was only four years old at the time.
Quizzed about Lomu’s famous four tries and Zinzan Brooke’s dropped goal from 40m at Newlands, Retallick said: “I might have to go back and watch it now.”
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