Veteran lock Brodie Retallick was included in New Zealand’s squad for the Rugby World Cup on Monday, despite an injury at the weekend that raised concerns about his participation.
Retallick, who has played 103 games for the All Blacks, had to leave the field due to a knee injury in the first half of Saturday’s match against Australia. The All Blacks won this game 23-20. He has nevertheless been included in the 33-man squad for the World Cup which starts in France next month.
New Zealand will face the Springboks in a warm-up match on August 23 in London, with their World Cup opening match against hosts France on September 8 in Paris.
New Zealand face Italy, Namibia and Uruguay in Group A.
New Zealand’s head coach, Ian Foster, says it will be “about six weeks” before Retallick can play again – meaning he will not be able to run out for the opening game.
Retallick, who is reporting for his third World Cup, does hope to be fit for New Zealand’s second group game against Namibia in Toulouse on September 15.
“The timing is not ideal,” he says.
“It still hurts a little, but I am working with the timeline given by the doctors and hopefully I will be available for the second game.
“I might miss two games, three at the most, so I just have to stick to the plan.”
Foster says the veteran deserves a place in the team despite his injury. “We truly believe he has earned his inclusion and we can manage it.”
The coach says injured forwards Joe Moody and Ethan Blackadder were unfortunate not to be selected.
“About half go to their first World Cup; there is a nice mix of enthusiasm, youth and experience,” says Foster.
New Zealand were unbeaten in their last 11 matches, but Foster did not want to say too much about how confident he is that the All Blacks will return home with a fourth World Cup.
“In this game you can never be 100% sure, we all know how a World Cup works,” he says.
This is what the All Black team for the World Cup looks like:
Props: Ethan de Groot (Otago Highlanders), Fletcher Newell (Canterbury Crusaders), Nepo Laulala (Auckland Blues), Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Waikato Chiefs), Tamaiti Williams (Canterbury Crusaders), Tyrel Lomax (Wellington Hurricanes)
Hookers: Samisoni Taukei’aho (Waikato Chiefs), Dane Coles (Wellington Hurricanes), Codie Taylor (Canterbury Crusaders)
Locks: Scott Barrett (Canterbury Crusaders), Brodie Retallick (Waikato Chiefs), Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury Crusaders), Tupou Vaa’i (Waikato Chiefs)
Loose forwards: Sam Cane (Waikato Chiefs, captain), Ardie Savea (Wellington Hurricanes), Shannon Frizell (Otago Highlanders), Luke Jacobson (Waikato Chiefs), Dalton Papali’i (Auckland Blues)
Scrum-halves: Aaron Smith (Otago Highlanders), Finlay Christie (Auckland Blues), Cam Roigard (Wellington Hurricanes)
Fly-half: Richie Mo’unga (Canterbury Crusaders), Damian McKenzie (Waikato Chiefs)
Centres: Rieko Ioane (Auckland Blues), Jordie Barrett (Wellington Hurricanes), Anton Lienert-Brown (Waikato Chiefs), David Havili (Canterbury Crusaders)
Wings: Mark Telea (Auckland Blues), Leicester Fainga’anuku (Canterbury Crusaders), Caleb Clarke (Auckland Blues), Emoni Narawa (Waikato Chiefs)
Fullbacks: Beauden Barrett (Auckland Blues), Will Jordan (Canterbury Crusaders)