All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick relishes the second row battle against Australia

Brodie Retallick is the total locking package.
FIONA GOODALL/GETTY IMAGES

Brodie Retallick is the total locking package.

Superficial is a strong word, but it would be fair to say most of us only have a rudimentary knowledge of two of rugby's most important facets.

For many folk scrums and lineouts aren't just an incomprehensible shambles, but a bore. If there's a moment during a match to fetch something from the fridge or put the kettle on, then it's after a knock-on's been ruled.

But with so much attack now being generated off the set pieces, the scum and lineout are more critical than ever. If yours are better than the other team's, you'll probably win the game. Simple as that.

All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock carts the ball up during last year's Rugby World Cup.
ANDREW CORNAGA/PHOTOSPORT

All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock carts the ball up during last year's Rugby World Cup.

So while's it's interesting to ponder who might become the All Blacks' No.1 midfield pairing, it's perhaps less important than how well the locks combine. As Brodie Retallick would likely agree.

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He and Sam Whitelock will presumably form New Zealand's starting second row against Australia at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, continuing an international partnership that began in 2012. 

"It helps to work with each other and know what each other needs to get the best out of each other and also around the field," Retallick said of the pair's familiarity.

"You can start to pick where they're going to go or what they're going to do. So yeah it helps. It helps especially at lineout time and especially defensively and you start to build a combination there and get people up in the air and disrupt some ball.

"As far as I see it it helps. It helps us anyway."

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And it certainly matters when your opponents are the Wallabies. Much of their attacking play is built around launching from lineouts and in Kane Douglas, Dean Mumm, Rob Simmons, Will Skelton, Adam Coleman and Lopeti Tomane they have a few locking candidates to pick from.

"I'm not sure who they're going to use until we see the team," Retallick.

"But obviously they've got Will there who's a big powerful ball runner and the other guys are great in the lineout and mobile around the field. Obviously they're going to want to use their lineout forwards, I'm guessing, so they can get their set plays going out on the field."

These teams last met in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final. The All Blacks emerged victorious, but the forwards haven't forgotten the way Australia targeted their scrum.

Retallick mentioned that this week and it wouldn't come as a shock if New Zealand looked to make some kind of physical reply on Saturday.

The All Blacks have certainly done their best to prepare for this game, taking the unusual step of arriving in Sydney on Sunday.

"It's the first time that I've done it since I've been part of the All Blacks," Retallick said of the early arrival.

"It's been great to get out of wet and cold New Zealand and come to Sydney where it's 20-plus degrees, so it's been a good few days so leading up to the weekend and the boys are pretty excited about it."

 

 

 

 - Dominion Post

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