All Blacks refocus before five-Test Northern Tour

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Having had a week in Noosa before setting up this week in Maroochydore, lock Brodie Retallick said that week had been a chance to freshen up physically and mentally.

 

The players were left to their own devices and didn't train as a group. But, this week, they were getting solid preparation in, before a 30-hour trip to Washington on Sunday, he said.

 

It will be a disrupted process with some of the group flying to San Francisco and some to Los Angeles and then arriving in Washington on four different flights.

 

Retallick said they reviewed the South Africa Test loss on Tuesday, where they looked at some of their attack work before training it in the afternoon. Wednesday would be time to look at their defence and set-piece review.

 

"We just need to be better [on attack]. We still created some opportunities but didn't execute. Then, at times, we were put under pressure when we didn't make a lot of gain-line and didn't take the best of options.

 

"It's been good to have this time to look at the footage, then go out and train it, and break it down, so when we get up to Europe we can nail it," he said.

 

That was important because they had not had a northern hemisphere tour against traditional rivals since 2018. The trip was massive as a marker of where the team was in the growth of its game.

 

Australia and Argentina played a similar style to the All Blacks, while South Africa was different to the other sides.

 

"And then we're going to go up to Europe where they'll probably play a similar game.

"It is going to be different conditions again, it might be cold and wet, so it's going to be hugely important for a measure for ourselves, but also great learning for the squad," he said.

 

One of the main areas of concentration had been the lineouts where, in both South Africa Tests, the All Blacks had been unable to gain parity with the tall Springbok unit.

 

"The Boks put us under a lot of pressure. When you break it down, I've just got to be better there and call some better options and not be so focused on them. I'll take a lot of responsibility there, that's something we're going to tidy up over the next couple of days," he said.

 

News that the USA had lost their World Cup qualifying game to Uruguay at the weekend would not impact the All Blacks' approach to the game.

 

"Every week, there is a mental aspect. We had a massive build-up to the South African games, with the first one being the 100th Test, and then trying to beat the world No1 back-to-back.

 

"We're going to have a week where we're doing a lot of travel, and there's going to be new guys joining the squad, and they're going to be excited to be back in.

 

"We're not going to underestimate it, but there will be things we'll be focusing on to try to build our game heading north," he said.

 

At the same time, Retallick, who admitted to being a big fan of America, said it was exciting to go to a new city. He had enjoyed the Chicago experience earlier with the All Blacks and, while he didn't know what Covid protocols would be in place, he was hopeful of a chance to get out and see some of Washington DC.

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