Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks, Wales fans fizzing for unwanted bronze-medal playoff

All Blacks fans are still excited about the game no team really wants to play.

While many would've bothered watching before the tournament, tonight's bronze-medal playoff is the last chance for many to pay homage  to departing heroes.

And for Welsh fans, it offers their last chance to see whether coach Warren Gatland can finally get that elusive win, before he returns home to guide the Chiefs in Super Rugby.

"I wanna see Wales get slaughtered!" says one All Blacks fan.

The match is an opportunity to farewell departing All Blacks like Kieran Read and Ben Smith - and, of course, coach Steve Hansen.

"I think they'll be looking for a really good game, to prove that they should've won," says another fan.

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In previous eliminations, like 1999 and 2007, reactions were mostly anger, but this time, it's more an acceptance.

"I think we just have to remember it's only a game," says another fan.

"It's rugby, we can't win all the time!" insists another.

For the past four World Cups, sociology professor Toni Bruce has surveyed fans on how important winning is to their identity and says the response this time shows fans may be moving on a bit.

"The percentage of people who said it's important to us has dropped below 40%," says Bruce. "At the moment, with about 400 responses, it's running at 32%.

"Historically, it's been around 48, 49, 51."

Two World Cups wins on the trot may have helped.

"I really think it's important that the All Blacks have won the last two World Cups, because I think it's reduced the insecurity and anxiety that New Zealanders had," says Bruce.

Wales haven't beaten the All Blacks since 1953 and the All Blacks are the only tier-one team Warren Gatland has never beaten as Wales coach.

"We are going into it as outsiders, but we're confident," says Andrew Jones, owner of Wellington's Welsh Dragon Bar. "Gatland's last game - let's hope we can get that elusive win!"

all blacks squad
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The establishment might have enjoyed things a bit more if their game was tomorrow.

"We've got fans flying in from around the country who wanted to be here for the final weekend," says Jones. "They'll still be here tonight."

And he's still expecting a full house to see who will have those sort-of bragging rights for the next four years.

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 10pm Friday for live updates of the All Blacks v Wales Rugby World Cup third-fourth playoff.

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