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Retallick and Henry have different takes on Wallabies threat level

By Sam Smith
Former New Zealand and British and Irish Lions coach Graham Henry

While the Wallabies escaped with just a 3-point series win over France, the All Blacks cantered to an undefeated July, scoring big wins over Tonga and Fiji.


In two weeks’ time, the two nations will meet for the first Bledisloe Cup match of the year and while Australia will likely be riding high from their gutsy win, it would take a brave man to suggest that the Wallabies will be able to conquer the All Blacks at Eden Park on August 7.

Brodie Retallick, who recently returned from a two-season stint in Japan, certainly won’t be writing off Australia’s chances, however – especially given the man that’s running the Wallabies is the coach that took Retallick’s to their two Super Rugby titles.

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Former England and Lions fullback Jason Robinson is one the best outside backs the world has ever seen.
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Former England and Lions fullback Jason Robinson is one the best outside backs the world has ever seen.

Dave Rennie took charge of the Australian national side for the first time last year and while the results didn’t go the Wallabies’ way, there were promising signs from the men in gold.

Rennie was also the man who first handed Retallick an opportunity to play Super Rugby, selecting the big lock in his first-ever Chiefs squad back in 2012.

Retallick repaid the favour in spades, and his exceptional performances in the second row played a big part in the Chiefs marching to championships in 2012 and 2013.

Now, Retallick has the opportunity to face-off against a Rennie-coached side for the first time, having missed last year’s All Blacks campaign.


“Yeah it’s going to be interesting coming up against Rens,” Retallick said on the SENZ Mornings radio show this week.

“They’ve got some pretty exciting backs and one thing about Rens’ style of play, he’s always prepared to give it a crack, even if it’s from your own try line. If it’s on, it’s on.

“You’re going to have to be aware and be ready for anything that they’ll throw against you.

“Coming off that victory against the French, their belief is going to be high and they’re no doubt looking forward to getting into the Bledisloe.”


Another SENZ guest, however, wasn’t so sure that the Wallabies would be able to put up a fight to match the All Blacks.

Sir Graham Henry – the man that coached the All Blacks to their World Cup title in 2011 after 24 years of misery – isn’t confident that Rennie will be able to lift Australia to rival their Trans-Tasman neighbours.

“I enjoyed the Wallabies. I thought they played with a lot of guts against the French,” Henry said on SENZ Drive.

“But I look at the Wallabies and think are they going to be competitive against the All Blacks?

“Dave Rennie will get the best out of them, but I don’t know if they’ve got the bits and pieces to be competitive.”


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