If there is one thing we have learned from watching the All Blacks during the British and Irish Lions tour and throughout the Rugby Championship is that Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock are the best lock partnership in world rugby at the moment.
There is little to their games which they do not excel at. They are dominant in the air, their maul defence is excellent, they can disrupt opposition’s lineouts and they are not too bad in contact either.
Both players were unavailable in their defeat to Ireland in Chicago at the end of 2016, and their absence was keenly felt. It’s pretty safe to say that they would walk into most teams in the world, but what about England? They, of course, have Maro Itoje in their ranks, he reinforced his world-class status at the Lions tour during the summer.
Regardless, Clive Woodward believes, that the All Blacks duo, in addition to the physically dominating Springbok captain, Eben Etzebeth, would walk into the England team (obviously not at the same time).
Woodward wrote in his column for the Daily Mail:
“World rugby needs a strong South Africa and it is clear their skipper Eben Etzebeth — who is going to be one of the greats — is dragging them back to the top.
“Although England are rightly proud of their strength in depth at lock, the Boks captain and the two Kiwis — Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock — would all walk into Eddie Jones’s team.”
We’re sure most sides in the world would love to have the likes of Retallick, Whitelock or Etzebeth in their ranks but England are well stocked in that department with Itoje, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes and Charlie Ewels all battling it out for a spot in Eddie Jones’ engine room for the coming November internationals.