England always tough up front - Retallick

GettyImages 1181141210 v2

Retallick said it was always a big rivalry between England and New Zealand.


"Playing them on the end of year tour last year was a massive Test where we only managed to come out one point ahead of them I think it was," he said.


"We know they're always physical, they've got a big forward pack, they're very mobile, carry the ball well, good skill sets and likewise their backs, they play an expansive game.


"I've only seen a little bit of what they did against Australia but they've got great skill sets and attack with a lot of variation so that's where we're going to have to be on our game come the weekend," he said.


Retallick wasn't aware England coach Eddie Jones had described the All Blacks as the greatest sports team ever. That was nice of him to say it, he said, but it wasn't something the All Blacks team were focused on.


He also said he didn't know enough about England teams of the past to have an opinion on whether Saturday's opponents were the greatest England team.


"I know they are a very good English team at the moment and, like I touched on, they have got great attacking assets across the park, a mobile tight five that are scoring tries from 25m out so they are definitely a strong England side," he said.


Retallick said he remembered the 21-38 loss to England in 2012 because of the physicality they turned up with, especially at ruck time, while their ball-carrying was huge as well.


"Like any team who turns up, up-front and wins that physical battle, generally comes out on top so I'm guessing, no doubt, it [the tough forward battle] will happen again this weekend.


There was some comfort in having been at the semifinal stage in 2015 and knowing what was ahead but it remained the fact the All Blacks needed to prepare well to turn up with the right attitude in order to perform.

Retallick said he was happy with the 60 minutes work he got through at the weekend against Ireland and it was a step up from the 30 minutes he had against Namibia.


"I just loved being back out there and being part of that victory," he said.


Like most who have been in Japan, Retallick said he had been impressed by the home team's tournament play.


The speed and skill Japan had shown in their quarterfinal against South Africa had been awesome, he said.


Talking before the type of game about Japan might play it, the All Blacks thought they would kick more to get South Africa running at them.


"I think they're sixth in the world right now and they fully deserve to be there and from being here on end of year tours it feels like they've got a country in behind the game of rugby with the support we've seen and people wearing their jerseys out on the street.


"I think that's what we're all here to do, inspire people so hopefully people take up and participate in the game of rugby so job well done to them," he said.


View all