24 Brodie Retallick [2012-] CAPS 64
Brodie Retallick has redefined the position of lock. He is a huge man – 2.04m and 122kg – yet he’s been able to play like a loose forward when he carries the ball and a first-five when he moves it.
He is a modern day version of Colin Meads – just as rugged, athletic and uncompromising. Retallick has been a huge influence in the six seasons he’s been an All Black.
More often than not he has been the All Blacks’ best player. More often than not it has been his ability to carry the ball hard up the middle of the field, running over the top of defenders, that has made all the di erence.
Any young New Zealander wanting to play lock at the highest level can look at Retallick and see where they need to get to.
They have to be able to carry the ball hard. They have to tackle with venom. They have to be able to get around the field. They have to be able to win lineout ball, scrummage and if they want to be on the same page as Retallick, then they have to learn to pass and catch as well.
Just how influential Retallick has been was confirmed in 2014 when he became the first tight forward to be crowned World Player of the Year.
The panel had never ventured down that road before – preferring instead to reward the higher profile, more obvious performers in the backs or loose forwards.
But Retallick’s influence in 2014 was too great to be ignored. He did too much to miss out so he became the logical choice and in being deemed to be the best player on the planet that year, he confirmed his potential to go on to establish a legacy as one of the greatest All Blacks in history.
A few months after being named World Player of the Year, Retallick was o ered a huge deal to stay in New Zealand until 2019 which he took, leading Chiefs coach Dave Rennie to say, “He’s a top man whose contribution has been world class for us both on and o the field. He sets high standards, is a leader and highly competitive in nature.
“While his set-piece play and skill set are impressive it’s his work ethic that is phenomenal. He has been the glue for us, a man whose grunt work allows others to shine. It’s this attitude that saw him crowned the 2014 World Rugby player of the year.”
NEW GROUND Brodie Retallick was the first and only tight forward to be named World Player of the Year.