Brodie Retallick happy with All Blacks preparation camps progress

Brodie Retallick happy with All Blacks preparation camps progress
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 28: Brodie Retallick works out during a New Zealand All Blacks gym session at the Apollo Projects Centre high performance training facility on May 28, 2018 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

When the All Blacks preparation camps were announced; prior to the Super Rugby season, it had a ‘tinge’ of controversy to it. But while only the Chiefs and Highlanders seemed to be directly affected by the removal of key men, Brodie Retallick is happy with All Blacks preparation camps progress.

“In the past, we’ve had only two weeks to build up towards a test match [in June]. We’ve found if we load up in that first week, it’s a struggle on the Test weekend,” he told All Blacks TV.

“So these camps have been awesome. It’s obviously a refresher, and there’s a few new boys here so they get an understanding [of the All Blacks environment]. So when we do hit Monday next week, it’s all at the front of our minds. Not learning anything new, just go out there and do it.”

Brodie Retallick happy with All Blacks preparation camps progress

The three day camps have followed on from previous single day formation camps. Those did not affect Super Rugby teams operations as badly, and they were designed to be where ‘all the talking happened’. Head coach Steve Hansen mentioned that he had done “95% talking” at those sessions. In the last few days it had been more physical, more methodology before the critical days ahead of the first test, Saturday week.

With that being said, Brodie Retallick and many of the All Blacks will need to front-up for one more round of Super Rugby; Week 16. And Hansen is honest when he told media this week, that he must still be prepared for injuries/changes to the Test squad.

Fitness has been one measure used during these camps, but it is also about a more holistic approach of body and mind.

All Blacks preparation camps an effective tool in training kit

Two men are integral to those plans. Nic Gill, the fitness guru. And Gilbert Enoka, All Blacks mental skills coach and manager. Two key men that have developed the programs that will set in place the keystones that the next Rugby World Cup campaign will be based on.

And that starts in 2018. Because the thinking that during the Super Rugby season before an World Cup, that you can man-manage the players has been used….and discarded. Rest and rotation only gave the perception of options. Learning from that, this group which have been involved in two successful RWC campaigns, have their planning well under way.

Opening with formation days, to educate players. To work on the mind and to give information. Set up both physical, as well as mental performance programs.

And now, All Blacks preparation camps have been used over the last fortnight, to drum in the methods and practices that the group want to employ. Injured players Kieran Read and Dane Coles have been involved, as they recover from surgery – but the group selected now, are the men who will play in the majority of games leading into 2019.

While to some it appeared that a Super Rugby team or two were ‘hung out to dry’ it only appeared so. They too would have been afforded much energy/resources to be prepared for the interruptions. As has been the mandatory stand down for All Blacks, which has been of benefit too.

Brodie Retallick feeling fresh, ready for NZLvFRA

“We’re in a tough part of the season, but having the All Blacks breaks, it has freshened up the legs. Been great. To freshen up mentally,” he told fans. And it is the fan belief in the planning and preparation that is all a part of the New Zealand Rugby system.

Brodie Retallick of the New Zealand All Blacks exercises during a gym session. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Contracted players, a centralized system which is beneficial to the greater needs. That involves the players representatives and stakeholders. Yes, of course it must be respectful of teams like the Chiefs and Highlanders goals, but a balance between All Blacks and franchise rugby might be hard to find.

This current action plan seems to have received the blessing of Brodie Retallick. Damian McKenzie too, who will play his part (as will the entire 33 man squad) in facing the challenge of the French. Then, the Rugby Championship, followed by the well planned five-test, end of year tour to Japan and the United Kingdom.

All designed for the grand objective; winning the Webb Ellis Cup for a fourth time.


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