The All Blacks have called back Brodie Retallick to their team for the final match against the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup.
The All Blacks are steadily advancing towards the World Cup final without much fanfare. In contrast, South Africa’s Jacques Nienaber made headlines by naming a team with seven forwards on the bench. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Ian Foster is sticking to his methodical approach. He has only made one change to the starting lineup that defeated Argentina, bringing in Brodie Retallick for Sam Whitelock in the second row. Nepo Laulala has also replaced Fletcher Newell as the backup tighthead prop in the only other alteration.
Foster noted that Laulala’s addition to the team was a direct response to Nienaber’s decision to include certain players in the match. He explained that the decision was based not only on their strength, but also on the specific scrummaging techniques they would need to face. He praised Nepo for his strong skills and experience, as well as his impressive training, and expressed confidence in the overall strength of the team, including players like Sam Whitelock on the bench.
Whitelock and Retallick, along with Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, and Dane Coles, will be retiring from the All Blacks this weekend. Foster shared that his discussion with Coles was the most difficult one he’s had in his career. He also mentioned his plans to move on and focus on coaching, while jokingly stating his excitement to go home and mow the lawn. Although they did not want to talk about it until after the match, the team is using these retirements as motivation.
They do not require much more. “We have two teams that have a long history of rivalry playing against each other, and we all recall their previous encounter in the 1995 final,” Foster stated. “It was a monumental event, and everyone is anticipating the same for this one.”
They would prefer that over the 35-7 defeat they suffered in their previous match at Twickenham in August. The back-line remains the same as the one used by Foster in that game, but three players in the pack have changed, with Codie Taylor, Retallick and Shannon Frizell all starting. South Africa also utilized a seven-one split in that match. However, Foster dismissed any notion that it would have an impact on this weekend’s game. He joked, “We actually took it a step further by playing with 14 men for that match. We even played with 13 for a significant portion of it. Needless to say, we were not fond of that strategy, so we will be trying a different approach this week.”
“I appreciate this aspect of the game,” Foster commented. “Players employ various strategies. They have their own approach and we have ours. Our preparation remains the same. Their tactic works for them, while ours works for us, making Saturday night’s match very intriguing.”