Ben Smith All Blacks v Wales: All’s well that ends well for two-try Ben Smith in last hurrah

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Ben Smith’s kids love it when dad scores a “meat pie”. Even better when they drape a medal round his neck afterwards and you get to come up on the podium with him to share the moment.

It was that sort of an occasion at Tokyo Stadium on Friday night as the All Blacks shook off their frustrations and disappointments and made the best of a bad occasion to farewell a group of departing legends in the style they deserved.

Never mind that it wasn’t the medal their father wanted. Never mind that it wasn’t even the match he’d spent four years building towards. For this wonderful and pragmatic All Black in the final test of his career, the 40-17 victory over Wales presented as the last chance he would get to slip into that black jersey and run round with this special group.

Never mind that the medal was bronze; the opportunity was certainly golden.

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“I wanted to leave everything out there and finish on a good note,” said Smith of a two-try signature performance that was just a whisker from being a hat-trick (the TMO rubbed out what looked a legit third when he ruled a touch from Rieko Ioane had drifted forward). “I owed it to a lot of the guys I’ve played with to get out there and do it for them.

“There’s some absolute champions within this team and I’m really going to miss playing alongside them. As player they give you a lot of comfort when you look around th

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