Hair he goes, All Blacks big rig Brodie Retallick just rapt to be back in black
MARC HINTON IN SYDNEY
Last updated 18:16, August 17 2018
Australia came away winners in Brisbane the last time the two sides met, and Rieko Ioane wants revenge.
Good times. Brodie Retallick is back in black and, in fitting fashion, he’s growing a mullet to celebrate it.
No-one is happier that his near year-long absence from the test arena is finally coming to an end than the big “Guzzler” himself, as the 27-year-old, 68-test widely acknowledged best lock in the world returns for the All Blacks’ Saturday night Bledisloe opener against the Wallabies in Sydney.
KAI SCHWOERER/GETTY IMAGES
Brodie Retallick gives a glimpse of the early stages of his new hair style.
Retallick missed the second half of the 2017 season dealing with some pretty intense family issues and then was ruled out of the June series against France with a small fracture in his chest area.
But he’s back now, and sporting the early stages of a new hairstyle that can only be described as straight out of the Liam Squire playbook.
HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY IMAGES
Liam Squire is the mullet forerunner for the current All Blacks.
“If anyone is interested, we’re on the movement – it’s a mullet movement. Me, Liam and Sam [Cane] have started it, and we’re taking all members,” declared a clearly upbeat Retallick this week.
Retallick is serious about his commitment to the cause. There’s a signed jersey and potential sitdown lunch for the winner, and, yes, there are even core beliefs.
Sam Whitelock will notch up his test century for the All Blacks against the Wallabies on Saturday night.
“Liam was a big motivator. Sam’s hasn’t grown that fast. He’s longer on top than out back, but he’s jumped on board as well.
“The motto that sums it up is when we went to the hairdresser and got the mullet, she said ‘if you ask me the mullet never went out of fashion’. It’s always been there … you’ve just got to be a true believer.”
Retallick is the sort of player who can make a true believer out of even the most wavering All Blacks critic. At his best, he plays the sort of explosive, vigorous all-round game that turns test matches on their head. And he seldom dips below that level with a black jersey on his back.
“I guess June was bit of a false start,” he says of the untimely injury in Super Rugby that removed him from the entire French series. “It was good to have the hitout before we came to Sydney because it had been a few weeks since a decent run-around.
“It’s great to be back here playing with some of the best players in the world and back in this environment and on the stage of Bledisloe No 1 in Sydney. It’s right where you want to be as an All Black.”
Retallick said it was “a little difficult” watching in June, but it’s a situation he has become accustomed to of late. His last test was last September’s massacre of the Boks in Albany. “I don’t get too caught up when I’m not there. It is frustrating at times, but at the same time it’s always good to relax with the family.”
The big lock (2.04m, 123kg) also had some special words for his second-row partner Sam Whitelock who will join the special 100-test club when he runs on to ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Here’s the All Blacks team for the first Bledisloe Cup test against the Wallabies at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
“He is a perfectionist and everything has to be right, but that’s the great part about him. He has high standards and that’s the expectation of everyone around him. I’ve been lucky enough to play quite a number alongside him and it’s always enjoyable and we work well together.”
As for his own transition back to the rare air of test footy, Retallick says it’s made him realise quickly what he’s been missing.
“There were a few calls I’ve forgotten, so I’ve had to get up to speed pretty quick. One thing coming from Super Rugby back to the All Blacks after a while out, is just how good everyone is, how much quicker things happen and how much more explosive people are.
“You have a line-break in Super Rugby you can try to keep up halfway there, but when you’ve got guys like Beaudy running round out here, they’re long gone. Everyone is that little bit quicker and more physical.”
Just how Retallick likes it.
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