Warren Gatland’s 12-year reign in charge of Wales ended with a 40-17 defeat against New Zealand in the World Cup bronze match in Tokyo.
Steve Hansen ensured he left the All Blacks on a winning note as his side clinched third place in Japan with a six-try display.
Wing Ben Smith scored two tries and Joe Moody, Beauden Barrett, Ryan Crotty, and Richie Mo’unga also crossed.
Hallam Amos and Josh Adams scored tries for Wales.
New Zealand demonstrated a more ruthless edge, with Wales not capitalising on territory and possession superiority.
Defence coach Shaun Edwards will also be unhappy at Wales missing more than 30 tackles.
Wales’ defeat ensured a second fourth-place World Cup overall finish to emulate their position in 2011, with their third place in 1987 remaining the finest effort.
Their losing streak against the All Blacks remains at 66 years, with New Zealand celebrating a 31st successive win in this fixture.
Wales and New Zealand would both have preferred to have been involved in the final but those dreams were dashed after semi-final defeats against South Africa and England.
So it was more sentiment than silverware at stake in Tokyo.
Gatland bowed out after 12 years in charge, a period in which Wales have won four Six Nations titles – including three Grand Slams – and reached two World Cup semi-finals.
Hansen stepped up from his assistant role to take over from Graham Henry after the 2011 World Cup success and guided the All Blacks to retain their title four years later.
Wales: Amos; Lane, J Davies, Watkin, Adams; Patchell, T Williams; N Smith, Owens, D Lewis, Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Tipuric, J Davies, Moriarty.
Replacements: Dee, Carre, W Jones, Ball, Shingler, G Davies, Biggar, Parkes.
New Zealand: B Barrett; B Smith, Crotty, SB Williams, Ioane; Mo’unga; A Smith; Moody, Coles, Laulala, Retallick, S Barrett, Frizell, Cane, Read (capt).
Replacements: Coltman, Moli, Ta’avao, Tuipulotu, Todd, Webber, Lienert-Brown, J Barrett.
Referee: Wayne Barnes; Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Pascal Gaüzère (France); TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa).
In other news – Ntsiki Mazwai attacks Sports, Arts & Culture Minister Mthethwa – Get a life
CONTROVERSIAL Ntsiki Mazwai has done it again! The singer and poet, who often makes headlines by shaming and fighting with people, has fired shots at Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa by telling him to “fetch your life”.
On Sunday Ntsiki tweeted the Springboks reminded her of apartheid. “Guys I find our rugby team to be an apartheid trigger. I can’t celebrate the victory of white domination using a black female CEO,” she tweeted. continue reading