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All Blacks to use their pain against Wales

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In his last game in charge, Steve Hansen wants his players to use another painful defeat as inspiration for a new dynasty for New Zealand’s rugby team.

A painful knockout loss in 2007 was the catalyst for an All Blacks resurgence that led to unprecedented Rugby World Cup success.

In his last game in charge, Steve Hansen wants his players to use another painful defeat as inspiration for a new dynasty for New Zealand’s rugby team.

A 19-7 semi-final loss to England last weekend has the two-time defending champions playing Wales on the next-to-last day of the World Cup – for third place.

“It is different, you can’t sidestep that.

“There’s a lot of pain involved and a lot of hurt, but you’ve just got to make that work for you,” Hansen said. The quarter-final loss to France in 2007 “has earned us two World Cups because it’s created a real pain that’s personal and deep inside you”.

“When you have adversity in sport, it makes you tougher.”

Hansen and Wayne Smith were assistants to Graham Henry 12 years ago when the All Blacks were upset in Cardiff. The squad decamped almost immediately.

“Last time we didn’t get another opportunity to play a game,” Hansen said. “We had to wait four years to get it out of our system.”

And get it out of their systems they did.

The coaching staff was retained, and it rebuilt the team that won the World Cup on home soil in 2011, ending a 24-year title drought. Hansen then took over and led the All Blacks to victory in 2015 in England.

Hansen has picked a combination to take on Wales that was balanced between giving deserving veterans Kieran Read, Ben Smith and Sonny Bill Williams a send-off in the All Blacks jersey, while also utilising some of the backup players and ensuring it was a line-up that could win.

“It’s an important Test match for a number of reasons,” Hansen said. “One: We’ve just come off a loss. Two: It’s Wales and we’ve got a history with them that we need to keep feeding.”

That’s New Zealand’s 31-3 record in head-to-heads – Wales last beat them in 1953.

Wales coach Warren Gatland is desperate to end the drought against the All Blacks before he goes back to live in New Zealand. He guided the Welsh to a Six Nations Grand Slam this year but wasn’t able to steer them to a first World Cup semi-final victory.

AP

New Zealand (15-1)

Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith; Keiran Read (captain), Sam Cane, Shannon Frizell, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Dane Coles, Joe Moody.

Bench: Liam Coltman, Atu Moli, Angus Ta’avao, Patrick Tuipulotu, Matt Todd, Brad Weber, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jordie Barrett.

Wales (15-1)

Hallam Amos, Owen Lane, Jonathan Davies, Owen Watkin, Josh Adams, Rhys Patchell, Tomos Williams; Ross Moriarty, James Davies, Justin Tipuric, Alun Wyn Jones, Adam Beard, Dillon Lewis, Ken Owens, Nicky Smith.

Bench: Elliot Dee, Rhys Carre, Wyn Jones, Jake Ball, Aaron Shingler,

Gareth Davies, Dan Biggar, Hadleigh Parkes