Chiefs coach Dave Rennie believes that Brodie Retallick is the best lock in world rugby at present.
Retallick has been a key figure for the Chiefs and the All Blacks this season and was once again at his imposing best during the Chiefs' 24-16 win over the Blues in Hamilton on Friday, rounding off his performance with a try in the 60th minute.
At just 23 years old, it's fair to say that he still has his best years ahead of him, but when pressed as to whether Retallick can consider himself the best lock currently playing, Chiefs coach Dave Rennie was unequivocal in his answer.
'By a long way I reckon. He's just phenomenal,' said Rennie.
'If you look at the amount of work he gets through, the numbers are phenomenal. The quality of his carries, the amount of tackles he's making, his ability to clean out, steal pill, dominate the set piece — the big fella's pretty impressive.'
Retallick's stats on Friday were rather impressive. He carried the ball 10 times, while he also made 12 tackles on defence. Only Victor Matfield could surpass that number, making 13 in the Bulls' defeat to the Stormers. The two second rowers are likely to do battle later this year when the Springboks face the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship.
Bakkies Botha is another who turned out for the Boks during the June Tests, along with the fast-improving Lood de Jager, while Eben Etzebeth is edging closer to a return. Bok coach Heyneke Meyer has options at his disposal. Whoever he opts for to combat the industrious Retallick will certainly have their hands full, but don't expect them to be overcome by his ever-burgeoning reputation.
Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images