Brodie Retallick Japan blossom and All Blacks dominate in a decade of new horizons

Brodie Retallick My mom says this plugin is adorable!

The best way to measure the true impact of the past rugby decade is to count the number of significant moments few could have foreseen. By that yardstick the 2010s must qualify among the more remarkable periods in the sport’s history, regardless of the naysayers who like to argue the game is not what it once was.

To say a bit has happened since Christmas 2009 – when Martin Johnson was in charge of England, France were about to win the 2010 Six Nations and an 18-year-old Beauden Barrett had just left Francis Douglas Memorial College in New Plymouth – is an understatement. Who could have predicted Japan would go on to win big at World Cup tournaments against South Africa, Ireland and Scotland, that Eddie Jones would become England’s coach or that the British & Irish Lions would still not have been beaten in a Test series a decade on?

The list is long and varied: professional contracts for female players, women’s and men’s sevens becoming major Olympic attractions, Exeter winning the English Premiership, the Barbarians touring Brazil, France on the brink of going through an entire decade without a male Six Nations title for the first time since the second World War. What about the previously indomitable quartet of Saracens, Leicester, Wasps and Bath, who filled the bottom four places in the domestic table heading into the final weekend before Christmas?

Inevitable consequences

Finished yet? Not at all. A newly crowned Springbok World Cup-winning prop,

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