Envision yourself in two or three years walking through a street that is rugby-smart. Who were the best second rows in the globe during the previous ten years? Stop any guy or woman and ask them. Rugby supporters can book France Rugby World Cup Tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.
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Most people will list the same names: Alun-Wyn Jones and Maro Itoje in the north; Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, and Eben Etzebeth in the southern hemisphere.
Pillar of rugby
Retallick and Whitelock have assumed the role of senior leaders on the international stage since the famed Springbok tandem of Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield split up following the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. If anyone wants to stake out their claims and put their flags in the ground, they have historically been the pair that everyone must measure themselves against.
Whitelock and Retallick were making a world milestone of 64 appearances during their time in the platform when they trotted out onto the ancient cabbage patch at Twickenham for the final game of the All Blacks’ arduous 2022 season, breaking the previous record of 64 established by Botha and Matfield.
On the same day that Sam Whitelock earned his 142nd game for the men in All black, the man known as “Guzzler” entered the exclusive club of New Zealand cap centurions. It was an interesting tale. It will be exciting to be able to say that we have accomplished that as well, as Retallick said before the match against England:
“Those two stars (Botha and Matfield) were two I looked up to and saw a lot of when I was younger. I appreciate the friendship between Retallick and Whitelock, and we invest a lot of time apart. I’m pretty laid back, and he likes to ace his work, and he’s a farmer and hunter,” Whitelock said. These days, I don’t do that much, but we get along just well.”
All Blacks’ best combo of Locks
Even though they have a total age of 66 years, they are still by far the best combination of locks that New Zealand has access to. They are so strong that they have forced Crusader Scott Barrett, the next-best second row, to the sidelines or into the blind-side flanker position, which he was chosen for against England both in late 2022 and in the pivotal 2019 Rugby World Cup semifinal in Yokohama.
The top three certainly stand head and shoulders above the others, while other factors like Tupou Vai’i will be taken into consideration. The facts make Guzzler’s point of differentiation quite obvious. With some substantial bells and whistles added, he has developed into a true all-rounder at his position. You can buy your Rugby World Cup Semi Finals Tickets.
Retallick can effectively contest for the ball on the ground after a tackle, and his work rate during cleanout time is almost insane. In the past, Brodie Retallick was able to carry, pass, and make judgements in the middle of New Zealand’s traditional 2-4-2 pod formation on the attack. Those days are long gone.
The explosive context of Rugby Championship 2013
Who can forget the explosions of light that lit up the sky at the start of one of the All Blacks vs. Springboks Rugby Championship games in 2013 as fans flocked to the shrine of the former Ellis Park?
Retallick was directly in the centre of the implementation, and some of the game’s most important moments were influenced by his presence in that midfield forward pod. Retallick, the new star, has grown more vicious as he approaches his 30s, while Bakkies Botha’s personality has become the focal point of his game.
He has evolved into a more effective enforcer, ruthless in defensive contact and cleanout, and especially skilled at sabotaging the opposing lineout on the field and in the air. On the official pages, the statistics for failed lineouts and demolished mauls are few, yet they are essential to understanding the performance of a professional second row.
The Brumbies, who were officially the Chiefs’ weekend opponents, scored all but one among their 17 lineout throws for an almost flawless 94 Percent return. When viewed from an armchair, the results for the home team were rarely as favourable as they appeared. You can buy your Rugby World Cup Final Tickets.
Retallick’s tactical skills
Both of these lineouts would be recorded in the ledger as Brumbies victories because the receivers Nick Frost in the first case and Tom Hooper in the second get a first touch on the pass. Retallick, though, puts up such a fierce, physical fight in the air in both instances that the initial touch is always lethal for the feeding squad.
The Brumbies attempt to set a ruck well behind the scoring line following a lost tap, but they are helpless to prevent one of their backs from being forced off the cleanout by two strong Chiefs’ back-rowers. In the second case, Hooper’s ricochet hits Luke Jacobson, who has been waiting to collect the Guzzler’s table’s leftovers.
A couple of amazing moments in the contest
Jacobson is gratefully receiving the ricochet. There were four such moments in the entire game where the home team’s statistical victories were equivalent to losses, all thanks to Brodie Retallick’s efforts in the air. When he dedicated his attention to preventing the Brumbies’ lineout push close to the goal line, Retallick was, if anything, even more, successful and significant on the ground.
The Brumbies are trying to spin the maul around a blocking wall that Nick Frost is manning in the infield corner, but as the maul continues, it becomes increasingly clear that Retallick is splitting the bind involving the catcher (Hooper) and the player who blocks (Frost), and the ball must be shifted away.
According to former England hooker Brian Moore, the important part is dismantling rather than winning. Two additional defensive mauls underlined how swiftly Brodie Retallick, and the Chiefs indirectly, absorb their lessons and revealed that a keen rugby intelligence resides beneath the imposing physical frame.
Ireland copies the same strategy
Ireland used the identical strategy to score two maul tries against the All Blacks in the crucial third Test of a thrilling series in July 2022:
Both times, the Ireland blocker on the receiver’s right (No. 4 Tadhg Beirne, wearing a blue cap), isn’t trying to push the two defenders across from him (Whitelock and Retallick in the first film, and Whitelock and Akira Ioane) off of the pitch. He wants to seize them and drag them far from the middle of the battle.
The drive rushes forward to the line promptly and the men in green turn both chances into tries immediately as one attacking forward has dealt with two major defenders and they have separated from the context of the action. Retallick would have been aware that the Brumbies frequently employ the same strategy on their short-range drives, and he was prepared with the response:
As soon as Retallick senses that Tom Hooper and Rob Valetini are starting to pull instead of push, he remains upright for sufficient time for a collapse that serves as a trigger for two additional Chiefs forward to hit the maul hard at the newly exposed gentle spot. The second maul was flipped over after the first one was stopped.
With the help of their biggest big man, Brodie Retallick, the Chiefs targeted the Brumbies at their weakest point and neutralised it. Given the recent history of the Brumbies and their well-known strength at lineouts, it was a huge accomplishment.
Sam Whitelock, is Brodie Retallick’s lifelong companion in the All Blacks’ boiler room, and they may have one last hurrah in them at the France Rugby World Cup 2023. The Guzzler will be looking for one last banquet, and he will be dining with people like Paul Willemse and Niccolo Cannone based on the bill at the group stage.
If the All Blacks advance further, it may be his old chums Eben Etzebeth, James Ryan, and Maro Itoje on the dining table in the knockout stages – as well as one individual from the all-you-can-eat buffet, Australian Will Skelton – on the menu. Brothers in arms are one thing you can count on.
To get a benefit, no matter how minor or significant, in any situation they can, Whitelock and Retallick will use every fibre of their sinew and expertise. They will exhaust every resource in their preparation for the game and will give it their best on the pitch when it is played.
Regardless of the result, they will leave the pitch drenched in perspiration but bathed with the glory of a combined total of almost 250 international appearances. One of the most amazing shared adventures of the professional period in rugby history will be recorded in its annals.
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