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New Zealand claimed third place at the Rugby World Cup with a 40-17 win over Wales on Friday night.
The All Blacks were looking to win the tournament for the third time running and fourth overall this year in Japan, only to run into an inspired England in last weekend’s semifinals.
But New Zealand did manage to end the competition on a winning note in the bronze-medal match at Tokyo Stadium, scoring four first-half tries and two after the break to see off Wales, which lost its semifinal to South Africa.
The match marked the end for both team’s head coaches, with New Zealand’s Steve Hansen stepping down after eight years in charge of his side and Wales’ Warren Gatland departing after 12 years at the helm of his.
“I’d like to say how proud I am of our team,” said Hansen. “There was a lot of external talk about not wanting to play this game. We’ve come off an extremely disappointing result against England, where we got beaten by a team who played better than us on the day. But I think we’ve come back out and shown some real character and commitment to the jersey.
“I’d like to commend Wales as well, because they came to play and it was a good game of footy. At the end of the
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