Brodie Retallick, giant young lock for Chiefs and All Black of the future
Brodie Retallick, the big Chiefs lock from Canterbury via the Hawkes Bay has been turning, or at 2.04 metres (6 foot, 8.5 inches), that should that be ‘tilting’ heads. At only 20, Retallick took to Super Rugby like a duck to water in his debut year, going onto make his test debut for the All Blacks, on the 9th of June against Ireland at Eden Park, in the first All Black test of the year. He is the second tallest player to ever play a test for the All Blacks.
Brodie Retallick was selected in the 35 man All Black training squad for the June internationals in the squad announcement on the 14th of May, 2012. Many of the other young players in the 35 man squad were expected to be culled when the squad drops to 30. With his dominant form in Super Rugby, Retallick was not likely to be one of these.
Retallick was confirmed in the 30 man squad for the three test series against the Ireland rugby team. He was named alongside three other locks, Sam Whitelock, Ali Williams and Luke Ramano. He made his test debut on the 9th of June, starting in the number four jersey. The All Blacks won 42-10. He held onto his place in the All Blacks squad for the rest of the Ireland series, and for the inaugural Rugby Championship (formerly Tri-Nations) a few months later, which the All Blacks won. However, Retallick often found himself on the bench, backing up the pairing of Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano.
At 2.04m, Brodie Retallick is the second tallest All Black ever, behind only Mark Cooksley who was 2.05m. When including non-test caps, Retallick is second-equal with Chris Tregaskis, who played four games in 1991.
When assessing the Chiefs chances in the 2012 Super Rugby, rugby pundits pointed at their untested, inexperienced and paper thin tight five and said with certainty that 2012 would be a rebuilding year for the Chiefs and new coach Dave Rennie. Equally confident was the assumption the Chiefs would not be providing any the All Blacks with tight five players this year. Well, all that has changed and the flag bearer is young lock Brodie Retallick.
The Chiefs went onto to win their first ever Super Rugby title, on the back of a tight forward pack, halves Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Aaron Cruden, and devastating midfielder Sonny Bill Williams.
Brodie Retallick has joined a number of Hawkes Bay players in the Chiefs tight five who dominated Super Rugby in the 2012 season. Unbelievably for a Chiefs side, their lineouts and scrum were amongst the best in the tournament. Instead of it being the million dollar Chiefs backline keeping the Chiefs in games, it has been the hard working forwards and water tight defence. Indeed, early on it was the the backs, featuring Richard Kahui and Sonny Bill Williams who were under pressure to live up to the possession provided by the forwards.
As part of RugbyFix’s 2012 Super Rugby coverage, this rugby profile on Brodie Retallick is part of a series of Super Rugby Player Profiles highlighting new talent that has burst onto the scene in the 2012 Super Rugby season.
Brodie Retallick: From Christchurch Boys High, Magpies, U20s to the Chiefs
Brodie Retallick was born 31 May 1991 and is a product of rugby factory Christchurch Boys High School and the Canterbury Metro under-18s. However, after missing out on selection in the Canterbury rugby academy he moved to Hawkes Bay and at only 19 debuted for the Hawkes Bay Magpies in the 2012 ITM Cup. In 2011 he won the New Zealand Championship with the Magpies and then went on to lock for the victorious New Zealand Under 20s that won the U20 Junior World Championships. Having now signed with the Bay of Plenty and the Chiefs he looks set to be a central figure in what could be an emerging Chiefs dynasty.
The Size, Pedigree and Work Ethic to go all the Way
Rugby runs in the Retallick family. Brodie’s cousin Culum Retallick used to play for the Chiefs before moving to the Highlanders. His uncle John Ashworth used to prop for the All Blacks. His brother Brook Retallick and cousins Jason and Matt Newton all have respectable senior rugby careers in Canterbury.
At 6 ft 8 1⁄2” (2.04 metres) he is the tallest New Zealand lock in Super Rugby, but weighing over 120kgs, he’s no string bean. With that much size it would be easy to assume he wouldn’t be particularly fit. However, if yo-yo tests (the next generation of beep tests) are anything to go by he is one of the fittest rugby players in New Zealand. When training phenom Brad Thorn set the New Zealand record for yo-yo test performance for a tight forward, most thought it was a record that would never be surpassed. According to Rugby Centre, a rugby show in New Zealand, Brodie Retallick has already bettered that record in only his first full year as a professional rugby player.
A Rugby Player of the Future
With his size, work ethic and pedigree, Brodie Retallick looks sure to leave his mark on the New Zealand rugby scene over the coming years. Pleasingly for New Zealand rugby fans, who have been burnt by glamorous, all style but no substance tight five players in the past, Retallick’s success is based on a strong focus on the basics of locking. In particular, his lineouts, defence and work at the ruck have been hallmarks of his game. In a position where players don’t mature till their mid to late twenties, Brodie Retallick looked ready to make the step up to the highest levels of rugby at only 20 years old.