Once suffering his shoulder dislocation when hit during a clean out against South Africa in Wellington, Retallick said he had always intended to do so aqua jogging during his rebilitation.
On one of those occasions, a few days before the World Cup squad was named, while in the water working out he gained an unexpected benefit from his efforts.
"It seemed to click into place, whether there was a bit of scar tissue there, but it felt good after it did click and from there it's just gone upwards and progressed," he said.
Initially there had been a sharp pain which caused him to grab his shoulder and say that it hurt but he found when getting out of the pool it was 'pretty much as good as gold'.
"I could lift it above my head and out to the side and from there the strength has just come back," he said.
It was then he felt his World Cup chance might be lost after all.
Since being in Japan Retallick said he was happy with how his recovery was going and he was slowly working through the steps in place to get him back to playing.
"I'm not sure on an exact date but hopefully sooner rather than later I'll be available for selection," he said.
He had full range of motion in the shoulder and his strength was nearly back to where it was.
Fitness wasn't an issue, he said, after having eight weeks off with a wrist injury, and then around a month since his shoulder injury, he had been doing plenty of running during both injuries. His fitness was probably the best it had ever been, he said.
"Now it's just building slowly back into contact. It's been more than a month since I've had any contact so there's no point rushing that and we'll slowly build that up," he said.
Retallick said in an ideal scenario he would probably have one full week of build-up before getting into a full week of training ahead of a game. That would give him two full weeks of contact and set-piece work.
Having to endure watching the game, he said it was probably the first time in a long time he had jumped out of his seat to cheer his teammates along but it had been an exciting game.
Tighthead prop Nepo Laulala said the All Blacks scrum had felt steady against South Africa.
"A steady, solid scrum is a good scrum," he said.
Asked if the penchant for props giving away penalties made him nervous, Laulala said it didn't because he focused on what he needed to do. If he did get nervous he would give away penalties.
"I won't do my role properly if I keep worrying about that stuff," he said.
There was also the benefit of having consistency from the second row where there was no obvious difference between the starting locks and those coming on as substitutes, he said.