All Blacks brace for Wallabies' response   22 Aug 2018



22 AUG 2018 

Improving their set piece results and applying more heat at the ball carry in order to have a crack at the ruck was where All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick was expecting the Wallabies to be channelling their efforts in the second Bledisloe Cup/Investec Rugby Championship Test at Eden Park on Saturday.

But at the same time that was the challenge for the All Blacks to be better so they could win the races on the inside and get their carry and cleans going so they could produce rugby like that seen in the second half in Sydney.
Retallick, who produced a man-of-the-match return to Test rugby said that while the Australian lineout had been going all right but the All Blacks had managed to get into it and put some pressure on them, and managing to get some turnovers.

"From what we saw against Ireland they were doing really well so we were extremely pleased at how many we managed to grab," he said.

Looking at what the Wallabies might do to rectify that area, Retallick said if the All Blacks were in the same position they would probably look to vary their options. But they had a week to turn things around and they would be looking at where to improve just like the All Blacks were.

"We can only plan for what we've seen and adjust accordingly," he said.

Retallick said he enjoyed being back among the Test action for the first time in nearly a year and when playing alongside quality players it meant he could go out and concentrate on his own role.

"As a whole the team went pretty well. We had to fight it out for the first 20-30 minutes, we were under a lot of pressure and then things started to click, people sensed space and called it. It makes rugby easy and fun," he said.

It helped that he didn't like losing little battles in games but he said he didn't try to over-complicate the game, for him rugby was about going out and having fun while throwing the ball around with his mates.

And that sensational dummy in the lead-up to his try was just the product of skills work and sensing his marker had moved off line.

"I enjoy it, I enjoy playing rugby, that's what it's all about," he said.

Confirming comments made earlier by halfback Aaron Smith about the lack of success from set piece play, Retallick said the All Blacks were looking forward to improving that for the second Test.

Lock Scott Barrett said he had been putting some time into the blindside flanker's role.

'I guess a lot of the roles are pretty similar between lock and blindside," he said.

Scrum defence and skills around the field needed to be adjusted and that was what he had been working on. He worked with his fellow loose forwards and upskilling himself in that role.

So far as locking was concerned, he hadn't had the chance to lock on tighthead prop's Owen Franks' side of the scrum. He was confined to the loosehead where prop Joe Moody called him 'the human caravan' because he hooked onto Moody who then towed him along.

"He claims the credit but it's an all-eight effort and everyone has to have their hand to the pump," he said.

Barrett said tighthead was probably the hardest position to play in the side but having him there for both the All Blacks and the Crusaders was great. He was a professional off the field, the biggest professional in the side, he felt.

Retallick said Franks loved scrummaging and the side knew he was going to turn up and not give in.

"Full credit to him to hang in there and play as many Tests as he might do in that position is no easy feat so he deserves all the accolades," he said.

Franks had also added to his game and Retallick said coach Steve Hansen might have sat him down at some stage and said to him that he needed to work on his catch and pass, and running angles, and as a result there were occasions when he had popped through the line and made ground and was world-class in that part of his game.

While Franks hadn't scored a try in his 99 Tests, Barrett thought there were possibly some penalty tries awarded that he was happier having ownership of than dotting down regular tries.

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