All Blacks star Brodie Retallick’s freakish fitness means he will be available to play the full quarter-final against Ireland despite being just 30 minutes into his comeback from injury.
Steve Hansen told media today “Brodie is a bit of a freak” and could play 80 minutes against the Irish if it was needed, though it was unlikely.
“Brodie is a bit of a freak when it comes to fitness, he has what we call a big motor, his ability to play off long breaks or short breaks, he’s put the work in, there is no question mark over that,” Hansen said.
“It’s how long we have to play him or want to play him, as I said right at the beginning, he can play 80 minutes if we need him to play 80 minutes.”
The potential for an 80-minute performance comes despite Retallick only playing 30 minutes against Namibia just under a fortnight ago.
He then missed out on what would have been value game when the final game against Italy was called off because of Typhoon Hagibis.
Hansen was also excited about what Scott Barrett could add when he chose to put him into the fray.
“We’ve got a young man called Scott Barrett, who is a very good player in his own right, we’ve got the ability to inject some fresh legs into the game at some point,” he said.
“Whether it’s for Sam or Brodie we’ll wait and see, those extra fresh legs could be the difference maker and we’re very fortunate with our bench, it’s strong, has been for a long time.”
“When you look at the experience that’s on that bench it does give you a bit of confidence.”
Speaking of the bench, Hansen also explained why Jordie Barrett was given the nod over Ben Smith to be the outside backs cover off the bench despite both players being in good form in Japan.
“Jordie’s extra string, he’s a big goalkicker, he can kick goals from well in his own half, he can drop kick goals from halfway at the drop of the hat,” Hansen said.
“Those are things you’ve got to take into account when you’re playing a big game.”