Early re­turn for Re­tal­lick

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Total Rugby -

New Zealand will wel­come back star sec­ond row Brodie Re­tal­lick for to­mor­row’s game against Namibia at Tokyo Sta­dium.

The for­mer World Rugby player of the year is to play his first game since suf­fer­ing a se­ri­ous shoulder in­jury dur­ing the Rugby Cham­pi­onship, but is re­turn­ing ahead of sched­ule, af­ter the All Blacks had orig­i­nally es­ti­mated that Re­tal­lick would be avail­able only for the knock­out stages of the tour­na­ment.

Re­tal­lick ad­mit­ted: “I’m pretty ner­vous, to be fair. Ob­vi­ously it’s been a long stint. Be­fore then, I’d only had a cou­ple of games at the end of Su­per Rugby.

“Al­though the train­ing we’re do­ing here is pretty game-like, there’s still that lit­tle bit of ner­vous­ness about it be­ing some time since I played. Ob­vi­ously we wanted to make sure [the in­jury] was in the right spot be­fore I went out and played with­out risk­ing it. But to be able to get a run this week­end is im­por­tant.

“I ob­vi­ously want to push my case mov­ing into the tour­na­ment by get­ting some game time – it’s been 10 weeks since the in­jury hap­pened.”

Jordie Bar­rett will make a first Test start at fly-half in an All Blacks side fea­tur­ing 12 changes from the 63-0 win over Canada.

New Zealand Namibia Kick-off

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