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Opinion: Sorry Beauden, but Brodie Retallick is the best rugby player on the planet

If there's one thing to take away from the All Blacks' shock 36-34 defeat to the Springboks in Wellington on Saturday, it's that New Zealand are by far and away a worse side without Brodie Retallick packing down in the second row.

Having limped off during the opening stages of the 46-24 win over Argentina in Nelson the week before, Retallick's absence was felt by the All Blacks, as South Africa sealed their first win on Kiwi soil since 2009.

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All Blacks flanker Cane made the remarks teammate Retallick on Sunday. Source: 1 NEWS

After missing last year's end of year tour after a personal tragedy, Retallick returned to the black jersey like a duck to water at the start of the 2018 Rugby Championship against the Wallabies in Sydney, putting in one of the most dominant individual displays, not just by a lock, but by any All Black in recent memory.

He then backed that up a week later at Eden Park, putting in another demolition job against a shell shocked Australian side, helping the All Blacks lock the Bledisloe Cup away for yet another year.

However, a sternum injury suffered in Nelson against Argentina will see him miss the end of the current Rugby Championship campaign, and in a worst case scenario, could be in doubt for this year's end of year tour too.

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The All Blacks prop is set to bring up his 100th Test cap, but has yet to score a try in his international career. Source: 1 NEWS

Stats never lie, and the All Blacks' numbers with and without Retallick prove just how much of an impact one player can have on such a star-studded side.

With him in the side in the 2018 Rugby Championship alone, the All Blacks have scored 78 points, conceding 25. Without him, they've scored 80 but conceded 70.

Away from the All Blacks, Retallick's abilities are made clear as well. Before Retallick, the Chiefs had never won a Super Rugby title. With him, they claimed the trophy two seasons in a row back in 2012 and 2013.

Simply put, any team is worse without Retallick in the 23, this isn't just about last weekend's loss to South Africa either.

With the exception of the second Test against the Lions in Wellington last year, all of the All Blacks' shock losses in recent times have come when Retallick is out of the side.

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Beauden Barrett said Scott wouldn’t see it as being unlucky to play in the same era as the two world-class locks. Source: 1 NEWS

Against Ireland in Chicago back in 2016 is a prime example. Retallick was probably the most notable absentee - and what happened? The Irish managed to claim their first ever win over the All Blacks, coming away victors 40-29.

Sir Colin Meads retired from playing long before I was born, but there is no way he could have been as influential on a side as Brodie Retallick is at the moment.

Devastating at the breakdown, a force in the lineout, and now seemingly possessing the ability of a back when it comes to open play, Retallick has truly become the ultimate rugby player under the tutelage of Steve Hansen - and thankfully for Kiwi fans, he doesn't look like chasing the Euro any time soon.

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The forwards are encouraging NZ to get behind their new trend. Source: 1 NEWS

He may not have the star power of the likes of a Beauden Barrett or a Sonny Bill Williams, but Brodie Retallick's impact on Steve Hansen's All Blacks side cannot be underestimated.

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The All Blacks' lock asserted his dominance against the Wallabies last month. Source: 1 NEWS