The Pumas have transformed their game - Retallick
Losses to Argentina in 2020 and 2022 have ensured the All Blacks know what to expect when the sides open their Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship campaigns in Mendoza on Sunday (NZT).
Veteran lock Brodie Retallick has played through the transition of Argentina's game, firstly through the Jaguares in Super Rugby and Test matches in the Rugby Championship, and he has seen the transformation of their game.
Changes had been made to their game in the decade the All Blacks played Argentina regularly. Early on, their strength was in their set-piece play.
"Now, the way they carry the ball, the speed of their ruck, especially the way they defend. They defend a lot differently, as we would the Wallabies or South Africa so that poses different challenges in itself, and their skill set has come a long way. They're a far better team than what we initially saw.
"They've grown across the park, skill sets, physicality, the way they carry the ball and their set piece is still a strong one. It's full credit to the work they've been putting in and it's paid dividends."
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Who remembers this beauty from Retallick last time we played in Argentina! 🤟 pic.twitter.com/qNW7AahcS4
"We had a good couple of days in Auckland before we left that was a bit more low key. But to get out onto the field and at a bit more full speed...it's great to be here. It's the first time the team has been in Mendoza, and the sun's out, so we're enjoying it."
As always, they are expecting a physical contest with the Argentinians. It would be especially up front, and they would be strong in their ball carrying while their defence was always strong.
The speed of the ruck, offensively and defensively, would go a long way to deciding the winner.
Retallick said fellow lock Josh Lord enjoyed returning to the squad after a bad run of injuries.
"He's a great player, a big man. He's the tallest one out of all of us and probably the heaviest as well, so he's got a great skill set for a big man and fast. I'm sure when he gets the opportunity he's going to impose himself."
MATCH DETAILS: All Blacks v Argentina, Sunday July 9, 7.10am NZT, Estadio Malvinas, Mendoza, Argentina. Live on Sky Sport NZ.
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