Believe it or not, aqua jogging could have saved All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick’s World Cup hopes.
Retallick looks set to return from injury early and feature in pool play.
The coaches originally selected Retallick with the expectation he’d recover from a serious shoulder injury in time for the quarter-finals.
Retallick was hesitant to give an exact date, but said the team doctor Tony Page is delighted with his progress on his dislocated shoulder.
He’s unlikely to feature against Canada in eight days. Namibia remains an option but the last pool game against Italy could be when he returns.
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Retallick is almost back to lifting his usual heavy weights and that could be thanks to an aqua jogging miracle four days before the squad was named last month.
"I got a bit of a sharp pain and I grabbed my shoulder," said Retallick. "I was with my wife aqua-jogging of all things
"I got out of the pool and it was pretty much as good as gold. I could lift it above my head and out to the side."
Retallick dislocated his shoulder after being taken out by South African lock RG Snyman in Wellington two months ago.
The coaches won’t put a date on his return but are excited that he’s progressing more quickly than expected.
"He's progressing really well," said assistant coach Ian Foster. "Whether it’s the next game or the next game. It’ll just depend on the next two weeks in the plan."
Retallick is currently able to hit tackle bags lightly but the next step in the plan is to get back into contact training.
Two weeks of that and Retallick reckons he’d be good to play.
The athletic lock is renowned for bringing more intensity and niggle to training than anyone else, so hasn’t enjoyed watching on.
"It's been pretty frustrating. I’ve just been running up and down the sideline. There’s been a bit of heat while I’ve been running so it's fair to say I’m over that."
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