Retallick's World Cup hopes still alive
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The All Blacks are hopeful Brodie Retallick will be available for Rugby World Cup selection after the powerhouse forward suffered a dislocated shoulder during their Test draw with South Africa.
Veteran lock Retallick left the field in pain in the 60th minute of Saturday’s 16-16 Rugby Championship stalemate in Wellington after being cleared out in a ruck by opposite RG Snyman.
There was a fear the 76-Test veteran may have suffered a fracture but coach Steve Hansen said on Sunday that scans had shown up no obvious complications.
Hansen said no timeline was placed on Retallick’s recovery and there was a “good possibility” the former World Player of the Year would be available for their first game at the World Cup, against South Africa on September 21.
“He’s one of our best players so we’re relieved. It’s good.”
Hansen said Snyman came from an offside position so deserved to be penalised but felt the cleanout was technically legal so didn’t warrant a citing.
Retallick, 28, won’t be included in a New Zealand squad trimmed from 39 to 34 players to contest two Bledisloe Cup Tests. The squad is announced on Wednesday.
Hansen confirmed Sonny Bill Williams won’t travel to Perth for the August 10 clash as he wants the veteran inside centre to play two provincial pre-season games in the next fortnight to improve his match fitness after a year dogged by injury.
Williams was patchy against the Springboks and later needed stitches to his nose but he has clearly done enough to survive the next cull, with Hansen targeting his selection for the August 17 Test at Eden Park.
“A guy that hasn’t played very much rugby at all was obviously going to be rusty so I don’t think we can get too judgmental,” Hansen said.
“The fact his body held together was encouraging.”
Hansen wasn’t panicking about opening their season with two muddled Rugby Championship performances, having scraped past Argentina 20-16 and been outplayed in the first half by the intense South Africans.
“We haven’t had a lot of preparation time so we knew that at times, with the new stuff we were introducing, that we were going to be a little off. And we were,” Hansen said.
“There’s enough signs to say that if we keep working away and get our timing and execution better, then we’re going to hurt some teams. So we’re not going to panic, we’ll just take a big deep breath and keep moving.”