New Zealand forwards coach Jason Ryan says that Brodie Retallick is held in very high regard by everyone in the set-up ahead of the lock’s 100th Test.
The second-row is set to reach a century of appearances when the All Blacks take on England in the Autumn Nations Series on Saturday.
Retallick is regarded as one of the best locks of his generation and will reach another landmark this weekend in what has already been an incredible career.
“I have always had a huge amount of respect, I really have,” Ryan said. “I have obviously coached against him plenty of times in Super Rugby games and when he is on and he’s in great form, he’s a pretty tremendous player.
“He holds a lot of respect in the All Blacks group. He demands a lot out of the jersey, and people in the room and people on the grass and also the coaches. It will be a tremendous achievement for big Guz.”
The 31-year-old has missed the past two All Blacks matches following a red card in their 38-31 victory over Japan in late October.
It has both delayed his milestone and also made life incredibly difficult for the matchday 23 who featured against Wales and Scotland, according to hooker Codie Taylor.
Retallick helped the squad prepare for those two Tests, but did so with his usual vim and vigour.
“Well, he has been a real prick actually,” Taylor joked. “We have had to go against him in the last couple of weeks.
“In saying that, he has prepared the boys really well and all going well, he will get the opportunity this weekend and rip-in.”
Ending year on a high
Following a difficult season for the All Blacks, which started with them losing four of their opening six matches, they are hoping to end it on a positive note against England.
They recovered to win the Rugby Championship and they have defeated Japan, Wales and Scotland in their northern hemisphere tour so far.
“We don’t really have to answer any questions, externally,” Taylor added. “As a team we want to get somewhere and the progress we have made is stepping in the right direction.
“New Zealand is a hugely proud country, and we want to do them proud. But when you are in this circle that’s all that matters, and you want to be doing the jersey justice.”