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All Blacks' locking woes no cause for panic, says Jeremy Thrush

Despite injury to Brodie Retallick, the All Blacks don't need to panic around their thin-looking locking stocks heading into this year's World Cup - according to former Test second rower Jeremy Thrush.

After Retallick limped off during the 16-all draw with South Africa in Wellington last month, the All Blacks are somewhat thin in locking options, with Sam Whitelock and Patrick Tuipulotu the only real specialist options in the current squad heading into the World Cup.

Scott Barrett, Vaea Fifita and Jackson Hemopo are also contenders for the up to four slots in the All Blacks' 31-man World Cup squad, although Steve Hansen has emphasised that he sees the three as utility forward, also able to cover the number six jersey.

Speaking to 1 NEWS in Perth, though, 12-Test All Black Thrush outlined that Hansen's side will be fine come the World Cup next month.

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Steve Hansen says it’s “likely” Barrett will be available for the first Bledisloe Test. Source: 1 NEWS

"Obviously, they've got a big one in South Africa in their pool match straight off," Thrush said.

"Then [there are] a little bit of, I guess, a few other teams that maybe don't stress them as much. They can maybe get through those games with putting a six-lock on the bench.

"Then if someone did fall over - hopefully not - when it came to those knockout stages, they've got someone back home that they can bring over and bring in.

"Obviously, it's a situation for the selectors to look after. I guess with Brodie, hopefully he'll be back when it comes to World Cup time, he'll be ready to go and they can alter with a six-lock on the bench."

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Brodie Retallick's injury leaves the All Blacks temporarily thin heading into Japan. Source: 1 NEWS


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