Rugby World Cup 2019: World media reacts to All Blacks' bronze final win over Wales

The All Blacks ensured a podium finish at the Rugby World Cup with a 40-17 win over Wales in the third-fourth playoff in Tokyo on Friday. 

The result brings an end to a dominant era for the All Blacks, which will see the likes of coach Steve Hansen, captain Kieran Read, and veterans Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty move abroad to start new rugby journeys.

Sonny Bill Williams is also expected to depart and has been linked with a move back to rugby league. 

Smith scored two tries of New Zealand's six tries in his farewell, with Joe Moody, Beauden Barrett, Ryan Crotty and Richie Mo'unga also scoring for the All Blacks. 

For Wales, the match also brought an end to the Warren Gatland era, with the coach returning to New Zealand to coach the Chiefs in Super Rugby. Welsh captain Alun Wyn Jones is also hanging up the boots, after an illustrious career in the red jersey.  

Dylan Jack - SA Rugby Mag


"While all the attention in the build-up to the game was focused on it being Hansen and captain Kieran Read's final games with the All Blacks, Hansen spoke of bringing pride back to the jersey after their disappointing performance in the semi-finals. That's what the All Blacks did, as they took advantage of admittedly poor tactical play from Wales, and put on a show of ruthless and clinical rugby.

"Standout performances from Ryan Crotty and Ben Smith, who scored a brace, will beg the question over Hansen's use of his veterans, as both were utilised sparingly throughout the tournament. That question could be rather meaningless, as the All Blacks forwards were dominated in the semi-final and it did not matter who was in their backline.

Rugby World Cup 2019: World media reacts to All Blacks' bronze final win over Wales

"For Wales, it was a rather frustrating way to end Warren Gatland's tenure, but there were still a few positives, as fullback Hallam Amos, wing Josh Adams and tighthead prop Dillon Lewis put in good performances. Adams scored his seventh try of the tournament in the second half and is likely to finish as the top tryscorer.

"All three are young enough to play for Wales at the next World Cup and it is an indication that there will be something for incoming head coach Wayne Pivac to build on."

Paul Abbandonato - Wales Online


"Warren Gatland's 12-year reign as Wales coach ended in defeat, as New Zealand sealed third place at the Rugby World Cup by running in six tries.

"Gatland was hoping to spring an upset in Tokyo, with Wales seeking their first win over their bogey team since 1953.

"But New Zealand made it 31 straight wins in the fixture, after scoring two tries in the first 13 minutes and never looking back after that.

"It proved a game too far for Gatland's battered and bruised squad at the end of a gruelling tournament in which injuries took their toll.

"The loss means the elusive wait for victory over the All Blacks goes on, with incoming coach Wayne Pivac the next to try, when he takes Wales down under for a summer tour in 2020.

"The game was also a New Zealand swansong for Steve Hansen, who bows out after eight years in the job."

Paul Rees - The Guardian


"Steve Hansen and Warren Gatland - the two longest-serving tier-one coaches in the tournament - received standing ovations from the crowd, having taken charge of their sides for the final time, but after the double espressos that were the semi-finals, the bronze-medal match was more of a latte - frothy and nowhere near as hot.

"It was a night of farewells. As well as Hansen and Gatland taking their final bows, the New Zealand captain Kieran Read was making his last international appearance, along with the wing Ben Smith, who was denied a hat-trick of tries by a harsh forward pass call, and Sonny Bill Williams who was never going to take his leave without an array of audacious off-loads.

"There is no side more ruthless when confronted by a disorganised defence than the All Blacks.

"The bronze medal won is unlikely to be displayed prominently at the union's headquarters in Wellington, probably destined for a bottom drawer, but the bitter taste left by the defeat to England was at least rinsed away."

Samuel Lovett - The Independent


"Much of the conversation before the encounter had been whether the men in red, after 66 long years, would finally be able to get one over their opponents here in Tokyo. But against a superior and incisive All Blacks side, one still smarting from their semi-final defeat by England, it wasn't to be.

"It's now been 66 years and 31 matches since the Welsh beat New Zealand. The last time they did so, in 1953, the UK was 20 years from joining the EU (then known as the European Communities), Elizabeth II had been on the throne for just over six months and Warren Gatland was yet to be born. A different time, a different era - but some things don't change, not for the Welsh at least. 

"After their dethronement in Yokohama last weekend, the All Blacks were in no mood for pleasantries as they cruised to an assured 40-17 victory over their northern hemisphere rivals. With head coach Steve Hansen and a number of veteran players to step down from international duties after the tournament, including captain Kieran Read and double try-scorer Ben Smith, the three-time world champions made sure to hand their leavers a winning send-off.

Ben Smith scored two tries in his final All Blacks test.
Ben Smith scored two tries in his final All Blacks test. Photo credit: Photosport

"Inflicting a second consecutive World Cup defeat on New Zealand, something that has not happened since 1999, was always going to be a tall ask. After losing six players to injury in the week before, this was a Welsh side seemingly held together with PVA glue and sticky tape. Without the likes of Josh Navidi, Liam Williams and George North among their ranks, stopping the All Blacks seemed nigh impossible.

"This is not the performance Gatland will be remembered for. His influence as head coach has been transformative over the past decade, having stripped the Welsh of their underdog status, led them to four Six Nations titles and ever so briefly lifted them to No.1 in the world. The Kiwi's legacy will live long beyond the scenes of this particular affair."

Daniel Gallan CNN


"New Zealand ended its Rugby World Cup campaign on a conciliatory high by beating Wales 40-17 in the third-place playoff match at the International Stadium in Yokohama.

"The All Blacks picked themselves up after the mauling they received at the hands of England in last week's semi-final and scored six tries to Wales' two in a characteristically clinical display.

"For its part, Wales was bold and ambitious whenever it had possession. A try apiece from Hallam Amos and Josh Adams meant this injury-stricken team could at least sign off on the tournament with some positivity."

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 for live updates of the Rugby World Cup final from 10pm Saturday.