After the disastrous semifinal against England, in which Eddie Jones cleverly outmanoeuvred Steve Hansen, New Zealand and New Zealanders were hurting. None more so than the idiot fan who had a tattoo done before the World Cup (see pic below).
And the fact Hansen chose to use the 3rd/4th play-off match to give the likes of Sonny Bill Williams and Ben Smith a swansong, led inevitably to questions about whether they should have been used more earlier in the tournament. As a result, an All Black rout of Wales last Friday in the bronze medal match was always likely to be on the cards.
Interestingly, there was much grumbling on social media in the preceding week about this match. The general feeling seemed to be that it’s a total waste of time. Initially we were tending toward that view but when the game started, we very quickly changed our minds.
The first half was a wonderful festival of running rugby, delivering five tries (four for the All Blacks and one for Wales) for a 28-10 score at the break. And the festival continued in the second half with New Zealand dotting down again within two minutes of the restart.
It took Wales almost twenty minutes to reply but reply they did, at the end of the third quarter – but it was too little, too late as they still trailed by 18 points. In the end, the All Blacks scored again for a final score of 40-17. You can catch the highlights reel by clicking this link.