New Zealand turn on style to clinch third place | Daily News


 

New Zealand turn on style to clinch third place

New Zealand fullback Beauden Barrett (R) was in the thick of the action. AFP
New Zealand fullback Beauden Barrett (R) was in the thick of the action. AFP

Tokyo, Friday: Veteran winger Ben Smith scored a classy try double as New Zealand beat Wales 40-17 to clinch third spot at the Rugby World Cup on Friday in the perfect send-off for storied coach Steve Hansen.

In what was the final Test for both Hansen and Wales counterpart Warren Gatland, after seven and 12 years at their respective helms, both sides produced an entertaining encounter that saw New Zealand outscore the Welsh by six tries to two.

Richie Mo'unga missed an early penalty, but that was merely a blip as the All Blacks looked to run the ball at every opportunity at a packed Tokyo Stadium.

The first try came quickly, the influential Aaron Smith finding skipper Kieran Read, who offloaded to Brodie Retallick, the lock stepping inside Rhys Patchell and producing a brilliant backhanded pass to Joe Moody, the prop bounding in from 20 metres for a great front rower's try.

Mo'unga converted and added a second after Beauden Barrett scampered over after a neat Aaron Smith drop-off that left Wales prop Dillon Lewis prone.

A sustained period of Welsh pressure then followed and paid off after Patchell found Hallam Amos with a long miss-pass, the full-back dummying Mo'unga and shooting over for a try.

Patchell added the conversion and then a simple penalty, but New Zealand roared back through veteran Ben Smith, the winger jinking his way through a crowded defence after good lead-up work by Read and Liam Coltman.

Smith, 33, got his double on the stroke of half-time, taking a long pass from his namesake Aaron and powerfully handing off Tomos Williams to slide into the corner.

Mo'unga added the extras to leave New Zealand in complete control at 28-10 at half-time.

The cut-and-thrust, running rugby continued in the second period, Ben Smith surging deep into Welsh territory before Sonny Bill Williams provided a perfect offload for centre partner Ryan Crotty to cross for the try.

Both sides were much different from their semi-final line-ups, Hansen having made seven changes to the team which lost 19-7 to England and Gatland nine from the side that went down 19-16 to South Africa.

- AFP


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