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All Blacks trio to get farewells as third-place playoff side named

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30th October, 2019
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New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has rung the changes as he has named his side to face Wales in the Rugby World Cup bronze-medal match on Friday.

Kieran Read, Sonny Bill Williams and Ben Smith will get their farewell Tests in All Blacks jerseys in a reshuffled squad to play Wales in the third-place playoff at the Rugby World Cup.

The All Blacks were on track for a third consecutive title until a semi-final loss last weekend to England relegated them to the bronze match on Friday.

Read, who will be playing his 127th and last Test, will lead the All Blacks for the 52nd time, second only to Richie McCaw.

“Everyone wanted to play,” coach Steve Hansen, who will be in charge of the All Blacks for the last time.

“There’s been a lot of external talk around this being the game that no one wants to play. 

“However, from our point of view, we can’t wait to play it.”

Hansen said all his players were motivated to show the 19-7 loss to an inspired England wasn’t up to New Zealand’s high standards.

“This is a Test match against an opposition that will be keen to make a statement,” Hansen said. 

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“We need to turn up with real attitude, intent and work ethic.”

The All Blacks have won 31 of the 34 tests between the nations, including all three previous matches at the World Cup.

Hansen was Wales coach in 2003 when New Zealand won the World Cup pool-stage game.

New Zealander Warren Gatland has coached Wales for 12 years and has never had a win over the All Blacks.

All three Barrett brothers are in the squad, with Beauden Barrett again starting at fullback, Scott moving from the blindside flank to the second row, and Jordie starting on the bench.

Sam Cane will start on the openside and Shannon Frizell on the blind in a back row combination with Read.

Dane Coles will start at hooker for his 69th Test.

In a backline featuring four changes to the semi-final starters, Williams and Ryan Crotty will form a veteran
midfield combination and Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith will start on the wings.

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All Blacks third-place playoff side

15. Beauden Barrett, 14. Ben Smith, 13. Ryan Crotty, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 11. Rieko Ioane, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 9. Aaron Smith; 8. Keiran Read (captain), 7. Sam Cane, 6. Shannon Frizell, 5. Scott Barrett, 4. Brodie Retallick, 3. Nepo Laulala, 2. Dane Coles, 1. Joe Moody

Reserves: 16. Liam Coltman, 17. Atu Moli, 18. Angus Ta’avao, 19. Patrick Tuipulotu, 20. Matt Todd, 21. Brad Weber, 22. Anton Lienert-Brown, 23. Jordie Barrett

© AAP