Retallick keen to get back in All Blacks mix

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Retallick said it was good to be back in New Zealand, especially after the restrictions he had been living under in Japan.

"Even getting out of MIQ and walking around without a face mask on felt a little bit weird for a couple of days. It's exciting to be back and [I'm] waiting to see if I get named next week.

"I'm looking forward to getting stuck into New Zealand rugby again," he said.

Down a little on his usual playing weight, he had been working during the last three or four weeks on conditioning himself and putting some weight on.

Because the amount of rugby he expected to play across his two seasons was reduced by Covid, while he had one period of around two and a half months where he did no training.

"I'm hoping to reap some rewards out of that, and the body is in a good spot, it's had plenty of time to rest. I hope that pushing on for the next couple of years I'm going to reap the rewards of having that decent break, and also a good pre-season to get the body conditioned [for 2022]," he said.

Returning to the All Blacks and Test rugby would be a different level but he said he would be comfortable if that involved a starting spot in the side.

"I realise that being out of New Zealand it's been different and I've got to earn my spot. I'm comfortable either way [whether starting or off the bench]. It is going to be a little bit odd coming back in and getting used to it," he said.

Retallick said he still tried to be physical in his approach in Japan, and admitted he received his first red card, in a pre-season game, although he felt it was debateable.

"I've worked hard at my technique. Obviously the players over there are a lot smaller so I've been working on the body height and that will be the area that will be the main focus in the next few weeks," he said.


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