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TOKYO (AP) — After weighing up the need to bring in fresh legs and to send out some faithful veterans like Kieran Read and Sonny Bill Williams, Steve Hansen is confident he has picked the right squad to win the third-place playoff against Wales at the Rugby World Cup.
It’s the end of the Hansen era in the All Blacks coaching box, too, but he wants the game also to kick off the next cycle.
“It’s an important test match for a number of reasons. One, we’ve just come off a loss. Two, it’s Wales and we’ve got a history with them that we need to keep feeding,” Hanse said. “We’ve got a legacy and a responsibility to that legacy.”
The All Blacks were on track for a third consecutive World Cup title until they were upended by England 19-7 in the semifinals that weekend. The England squad produced a performance for the ages. The All Blacks hadn’t been rocked enough in the last decade to respond by winning, Hansen said, and so that’s the challenge on Friday.
“Everyone wanted to play,” he said. “There’s been a lot of external talk around this being the game that no one wants to play. From our point of view, we can’t wait to play it.”
Read will be playing his 127th and last test, and will be lea
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