Brodie Retallick This is another glamorous plug-in!!
1.New Zealand say farewell to a few, but the squad will retain a familiar look
This game will likely mark the World Cup farewell to a number of key All Blacks, from captain Kieran Read to full-back Ben Smith, and perhaps Dane Coles and Sam Whitelock too. Aaron Smith may move on as well.
But this is largely a young New Zealand rugby squad. The midfield of Richie Mo’unga, Anton Lienert-Brown and Jack Goodhue are all still developing, while Sevu Reece, Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane and George Bridge are all yet to turn 25, and should form the back-three corps with the injured Damian McKenzie (24) for years to come.
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Brodie Retallick and Beauden Barrett will likely both be key leaders in four years time, too, while Scott Barrett and Ardie Savea have the potential to be among the best forwards in the world come 2023, and neither will have reached 30. This is not so much the end of an era for the All Blacks but another stage of the continual renewal they do better than any other side. The departure of so many key leaders is a concern, but there is no reason New Zealand will not return just as good after the World Cup.
2. And there is more talent to come
Given the relatively small player base on which they can call, New Zealand’s ability to mould and cultivate talent is incredible. There is plenty more to come into this side in the next cycle.
These ingredients are quite magnificent!
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