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Major boost for the All Blacks as Retallick returns for Ireland clash

The 30-year-old lock has fully recovered from a shoulder injury.

Retallick is a key man for the Kiwis.
Retallick is a key man for the Kiwis.

THE ALL BLACKS have been handed a major boost ahead of next weekend’s clash with Ireland in Dublin after influential second row Brodie Retallick was passed fit.

The skillful lock suffered a shoulder injury during New Zealand’s win over Wales two weeks ago and was not involved in yesterday’s 47-9 victory against Italy in Rome.

However, 30-year-old Retallick is now fully fit again and set to partner Sam Whitelock in the All Blacks’ second row against Ireland.

“Brodie trained fully last Thursday, so he’s good to go,” said assistant coach Scott McLeod after the All Blacks landed into Dublin this evening.

Retallick’s physicality, set-piece nous, and handling skills are all important for the Kiwis and hooker Dane Coles welcomed the confirmation that he will be available for this clash with Ireland.

“He’s an absolute pest,” said Coles of what it’s like having Retallick as a team-mate.

“There’s nothing wrong with him, he was training all week! Nah, it’s awesome to have ‘Guzzler’ back.

“It’s just his presence, his leadership we probably missed last year. Obviously with Sammy Whitelock being away for the first part [of this tour], he has taken this group with him and led really well.

“Guzz is awesome to have in our environment. He’s a pr*ck at training – he gets stuck in and pushes guys in the face and holds people down, but he’s one guy you love to look around the circle at and get to run out alongside Brodie Retallick.

“He’s a good player and a good man.”

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New Zealand wing Sevu Reece suffered bone bruising during yesterday’s win against Italy but he seems likely to recover from that issue swiftly.

Scrum-half Brad Weber will need to come through an independent concussion assessment after a head injury sustained against the Italians and McLeod said he is “a wait and see.”

TJ Perenara is likely to start in the number nine shirt against Ireland anyway, with Finlay Christie set to offer back-up if Weber is ruled out of the game.

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