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Rugby World Cup
The All Blacks enter the Bronze Age, leaving a new coach obvious work-ons to get them back to a golden era, writes Jim Kayes from Tokyo
Job done – and done in patches of style by the All Blacks.
But there’s plenty of work on the horizon for whoever replaces Steve Hansen as head coach.
The 40-17 win against Wales ensured the All Blacks finished third at the Rugby World Cup and maintained a winning streak against Wales that now includes 31 tests and covers 66 years.
It also allowed Ben Smith to say goodbye from the field, not the stands, and his two tries showed how classy he is.
Kieran Read can retire on a win and after a performance that was so much better than how he played against England.
He must be remembered as a classy No 8, perhaps not our greatest but certainly one of the very best.
Others got to finish the year on a more positive note, too, with Brodie Retallick and Joe Moody much better than they were in the semifinal – though Wales weren’t a patch on England.
The same applies to others, like halfback Aaron Smith and the twin pivots of Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett.
But as impressive as the All Blacks were in a match cruelly, but accurately, du
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