Clash of styles set for 100th Test

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Having the ability to play the game they want rather than being embroiled in South Africa's preferred game, going from set-piece to set-piece, would be the goal for the All Blacks.


Lock Brodie Retallick said the freedom to use the ball and create opportunities was the All Black way and was how they wanted to play. It was a style that the team of 2021 had been building towards throughout the season.


That freedom was not coached, he said. Rather, they had the coaches' backing to try things when they felt it was on, and not always stick to specific structures, he said.


Retallick, who has never played in a losing team to the Springboks, was not only feeling the benefits of a week off heading into the two Tests against South Africa. He was also rejuvenated by his longer than intended break in Japan.


That had rekindled his love of rugby, his fitness was in a good place, and now having played several Tests since returning to the side, he felt prepared for the finale to the Championship.


While the All Blacks had dominated the last 10 years of games between the sides, the Springboks had pulled things back a little.  That was especially in the 18 months before the World Cup, something the All Blacks hadn't forgotten.



"Where they've caught us out the last couple of times, when they did, was through their line-speed defensively. They've out-muscled us, and we haven't been able to break them down through our attack, and then they've punished us.


"So, physically, you've always got the set-piece battle, but dealing with their line-speed, and being able to make breaches, and then convert them is going to be massive," he said.


Retallick wasn't reading too much into South Africa's upset losses to Australia.


They would lift to play New Zealand, they always did, while they were also the world champions.


"You can't under-estimate them. We've talked about the fact it's the 100th Test between the two nations, and they're the World Cup champions. It's the first time this team has played a World Cup champion in a long time," he said.


"We're going out there to give it our best shot and hopefully take it to them," he said.


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