All Blacks respond to Bok coach's rumour
WORLD CUP SPOTLIGHT: The Springboks and All Blacks are taking their mind games to the next level ahead of their World Cup opener in Yokohama.
With the All Blacks sweating over the fitness of lock Brodie Retallick, Springbok assistant coach Matthew Proudfoot accused New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen of indulging in mind games in the build-up to the game.
Retallick, who dislocated his shoulder in 16-16 draw between the two teams in the Rugby Championship, is only expected to be available for the All Blacks’ final pool game against Italy.
“Are you sure he’s not playing?” Proudfoot told reporters.
“Mr Hansen said he had a full squad to pick from,” he smiled. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t have a trick up his sleeve.”
However, All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster was wondering what was on Proudfoot’s mind.
“I do not know why Matthew would think that,” said Foster.
“He’s [Retallick] quite hard to hide from you guys, a six-foot-five [two-metre] monster, we haven’t been sneaking him into training or anything like that. He is progressing really strongly but I’m pretty sure he won’t be there on Saturday.”
Foster ended with: “But who knows?”
— Springboks (@Springboks) September 16, 2019
Putting the Retallick rumours aside, Proudfoot is still expecting a surprise or two this Saturday.
“We’re expecting a new arrow to their quiver,” he said before a training session in the shadow of Tokyo Disneyland.
“They’re an intelligent bunch and there will be something new that they bring to the party.
“They have been working on various aspects of their attack,” added Proudfoot.
“There’s been quite a bit of evolution in that area of their game. And they’re too good a side not to continue their evolution.”
Sources: AFP, Stuff and NZ Herald