All Blacks fans support Brodie Retallick gamble
REACTION: One of the most pressing concerns to All Blacks fans over the past few weeks has been whether the injured Brodie Retallick would make the World Cup next month.
The lock is nursing a dislocated shoulder sustained against the Springboks in July and it has since been unclear as to how he is. But Steve Hansen allayed many fears on Wednesday by naming the 28-year-old in his squad to travel to Japan. However, he is expected to miss the pool stages, with the hope that he will return for the play-offs.
This is obviously not ideal, particularly as the All Blacks open their campaign against the Springboks, but given that many feared his World Cup hopes were over when he walked off the field in Wellington clutching his shoulder, it is better than nothing.
Taking an injured player to a World Cup is a risk, but it is one that many All Blacks fans on social media are backing, especially given the calibre of Retallick.
Hansen has clearly had to tweak his squad, however, to accommodate this change.
In 2015, the All Blacks only took three locks to the World Cup, whereas they have four this time around as cover for the 2014 World Rugby Player of the Year. This has perhaps left them slightly thin in the back row, although Scott Barrett can play at six if needs be.
Retallick has such an influence on the All Blacks that some fans feel that he is still better than most other locks in the world even if he is not at full fitness.
Moreover, the prospect of having a fresh Retallick joining the All Blacks set-up in the quarterfinals would be a major boost to the team. If he does manage to play, there will be questions regarding his match fitness though.
This is what has been said:
Agree. Shame for Laumape. Rapt for Luke Jacobson. Brodie is best in world and even af 70%- still better than all.
— J Finn (@gamaan_j) August 28, 2019
From about day after Retallicks injury the word was he would be fit by mid stage of pool games. Retallick is so good even if he is at 80% he is probably better than almost any other option they could of taken in his place.
— Michael Chronican (@mikechron) August 28, 2019
I can see why they’d be tentative about picking him but imagine him & Retallick coming back raring to go for the Quarter Finals? 😮
— Rhys Knott (@buck_mitchell) August 28, 2019
We all know what they bring and more importantly they don’t need too many games to get into it. Big game players and squad leaders
— Shoba (@shobzlvr) August 28, 2019
Simply put: Best, or most influential, player in the world at the peak of his powers. Though a big ask to come into World Cup quarterfinal cold. https://t.co/Np5hIlHgJl
— Liam Napier (@liamnapiernz) August 28, 2019
No brainer, especially when their other options at lock are nowhere near the same quality as Retallick and Whitelock.
Bet they would love SA or England’s depth in that position.
— Ian Taylor (@shaky77) August 28, 2019
The nature of Retallick’s injury is still a divisive topic, as some feel that he was illegally cleared out at the ruck by the Springboks’ RG Snyman, although the lock was not punished for it.
Retallick will miss the All Blacks’ next encounter with South Africa at the World Cup, but could be fit if the teams meet later on in the final.