'To be fair, I don't know a lot about him': Retallick on new All Blacks teammate
In the All Blacks search for solutions to their faltering lineout after a disappointing end to the Rugby Championship, they have called upon 20-year-old uncapped lock Josh Lord to join the side for their Northern tour.
The Chiefs-product has just five Super Rugby caps along with 18 appearances for his provincial side Taranaki, but standing at 2.02m offers some tall timber for the All Blacks’ hookers to throw at.
Although the side will be bolstered by the return of the experienced Sam Whitelock, with Scott Barrett and Patrick Tuipulotu heading back to New Zealand the squad needed another lock to join Brodie Retallick and Tupou Vaa’i.
Despite having three Chiefs locks in the squad, Brodie Retallick admitted that he ‘didn’t know a lot’ about Josh Lord as the second rower made his way into the Super side at a time when Retallick was offshore in Japan.
“To be fair, I don’t know a lot about him,” Retallick told media earlier this week.
“I actually haven’t met him at all. I saw the games that he played for the Chiefs on the TV, but I’ve heard that he’s a big rig and he can get around.
“He’s strong and powerful and has a good skill set, so it’s a great opportunity for someone like him, at his age, to come in and put his foot in the door and make a mark. I’m sure he’s hugely excited to join the team at the end of the week.”
Retallick may end up packing down a scrum with Lord in the coming weeks depending on how Ian Foster wants to configure his team throughout the November tour where the All Blacks will play five tests against USA, Wales, Ireland, Italy and France.
The opening game against a weakened USA side may be a chance for Lord to make his debut, particularly if the coaching staff decide to send either one of Retallick or Whitelock up to Europe early as part of a small group of All Blacks heading up there before the American match.
At this stage, Retallick said no one knows who is in the early departure group and the side is going about preparations for the USA as usual.
“No, we’ve got no idea at the moment. We just know we’re departing the hotel at 4am on Sunday morning, at this stage,” he said.
Foster earlier indicated the selection of Lord was based on his form in Super Rugby and his potential as a prospect in the future when the squad was initially named, while also hinting that the Chiefs other young lock Tupou Vaa’i is in line to receive an expanded role with ‘significant game time’ on the tour.
“He’s very athletic and we saw this as an opportunity to grow a young player for the future,” Foster said of Lord.
“He’s got the physical attributes that we think are right, and it’s a chance to get him on this tour and start working with him.
“We saw Tupou come in quickly last year, and he dealt with a starting role in a Bledisloe Cup game under a lot of pressure. Whenever we put him on the park, we felt he performed well, and he’s continued to do that and impress us.
“We see this tour as a chance for him to get some significant game time and have a big role,” he said.
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