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New Zealand name side for Rugby World Cup third-place play-off against Wales

Captain Kieran Read and centres Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty are in the starting line up.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen (David Davies/PA)
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen (David Davies/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has rung the changes as he has named his side to face Wales in the bronze-medal match on Friday.

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Hansen has created space for his departing veterans with captain Kieran Read, centres Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty, and wing Ben Smith all named to start.

Just eight starters from New Zealand’s 19-7 semi-final loss to England have been named.

“This was a tough team to select because, as always, everyone wanted to play,” Hansen said.

“But with a short turnaround and the nature of the tournament we feel that this is the right team for this occasion.”

Hansen will retire as All Blacks coach after the match.

Wales have not beaten New Zealand in 66 years, but carry the momentum of winning the Six Nations earlier this year and the added incentive of it being Warren Gatland’s last match as coach after 12 years in charge.



From Belfast Telegraph