Rugby World Cup: Semi-final defeat four years ago motivation for All Blacks in blockbuster knockout against Ireland

All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick insists avoiding an early exit from the World Cup would be just as important a motivation as avenging last year's home test-series loss to Ireland, when they meet Andy Farrell's top-ranked team on Sunday (NZ time).

Ireland came from a test down to win a three-match series in New Zealand for the first time last year, but the three-time world champions can take a measure of revenge in the quarter-final at Stade De France.

A 2015 World Cup winner, Retallick says the memory of losing to England in the semi-finals four years ago is as much of a driving force for the players who went through it.

Brodie Retallick in action against South Africa.
Brodie Retallick in action against South Africa. Photo credit: Getty Images

"To get knocked out and to feel the pain of not being in the final, and then obviously when the Irish came down to New Zealand," he said, when asked about his motivations for the match.

"I don't think you'd talk to any professional rugby player that likes getting beaten, so it's definitely motivational. We touched on 2019 as a team, before we left New Zealand.

"Obviously, some of us haven't experienced that and it's a hard lesson to learn when you do. Our plan is obviously not to go through that pain this week."

The experienced second-row forward has particular reason to remember the loss to Ireland in the third test at Wellington last year, after he sustained a broken cheekbone that ruled him out of the Rugby Championship.

Irish prop Andrew Porter was shown a yellow card and cited for the high shot, but received no further punishment for the incident, which almost certainly would have drawn a red card at this World Cup.

"I'm not going to dwell on it," Retallick added, a little disingenuously, after raising the matter. "It was still head-on-head in my opinion and it's frustrating when you get injuries that rule you out of the game."

Retallick says he has enjoyed the atmosphere the Irish fans have brought to the tournament, particularly the renditions of the 1990s pop song 'Zombie'.

"I think that's one of the awesome parts about a World Cup, the enthusiasm the crowd bring," he added. "I've seen them singing the Cranberries, it's a great song, but hopefully they're not singing it on Saturday."

Coach Ian Foster, who almost lost his job over the Ireland series loss, says tighthead prop Tyrel Lomax is still a chance to play, despite aggravating a knee injury in New Zealand's final pool game against Uruguay.


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