All Blacks give departing veterans farewell in bronze medal playoff

Captain Kieran Read will lead the All Blacks in his final Test alongside other departing veterans Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty and Sonny Bill Williams in the Rugby World Cup third-place match against Wales in Tokyo on Friday.

Read, who turned 34 on Saturday, will effectively finish his 127-Test career with the All Blacks at Tokyo Stadium after deciding to join Japanese club Toyota at the conclusion of the World Cup.

Smith, who is also leaving New Zealand to join Pau in France, has been named on the right wing for his 84th Test as coach Steve Hansen makes eight changes from the starting side that were beaten 19-7 by England in the semifinal.

Crotty has been teamed with Williams in the midfield for one final time. The pair had been expected to be the starting combination in Japan but were instead usurped by youngsters Anton Lienert-Brown and Jack Goodhue.

Crotty, 31, is also heading to club rugby in Japan, while Williams is expected to leave New Zealand rugby although he has not confirmed his plans.

Beauden Barrett will again play fullback with Richie Mo'unga at fly-half as Hansen gives the dual playmaker tactic one final outing before the coach walks away after 16 years with the team, the last eight in charge.

With Smith's selection on the right wing, Hansen reinstated Rieko Ioane to the No. 11 jersey, handing the 22-year-old the opportunity to give the next All Blacks coach a reminder of his explosive power.

Lock Scott Barrett, who started at blindside flanker against England, has moved back into the second row to partner Brodie Retallick, with Shannon Frizell taking the number six jersey.

Dane Coles has also returned as the starting hooker where he will provide a formidable front-row with Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala.

Meanwhile, Wales coach Warren Gatland has made nine changes to the side for his last game in charge after 12 years.

With Wales edged out by South Africa in the semifinals, Gatland, who has four players unavailable through injury, has given some of the less-used squad members a start in the match.

Tomos Williams and Rhys Patchell form a new halfback partnership as Gareth Davies and Dan Biggar move to the bench, while Owen Watkin features alongside Jonathan Davies in midfield.

Nicky Smith and Dillon Lewis come into the starting side in the front row to join Ken Owens, while Adam Beard returns to partner captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row.

Winger Josh Adams, the tournament's leading try scorer with six, remains in the back three alongside Owen Lane, who comes in on the wing for his tournament debut after joining the squad last week to replace the injured Josh Navidi.

Tomas Francis, George North and Aaron Wainwright were unavailable through injury, as was Leigh Halfpenny due to concussion.

Gatland said the squad had done their best to put the semifinal disappointment behind them and were motivated to give their all against New Zealand.

"Even though we'd like to not be playing the bronze medal game, it's an opportunity for us to go out there, give our best and then reflect afterwards," he told a news conference.

"It would be easy for us to throw in the towel but I expect these players to lift themselves in the next 48 hours."

Gatland said he had been too busy to really reflect on leaving Wales after such a long spell, but thanked the fans and all the staff he has worked with.

"I never thought I'd be with Wales for 12 years, I was lucky enough to have some sabbaticals [to coach the British and Irish Lions] and that was really good for me mentally," he added. "I'd just really like to thank the Welsh public. It's been challenging at times but they've made it worthwhile, just in terms of how welcoming they've been.

"I'm going to miss being there but you've got to look forward and be excited. One more game and then I'll start thinking about the next challenge."

New Zealand: Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (captain), Sam Cane, Shannon Frizell, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala,Dane Coles, Joe Moody

Replacements: Liam Coltman, 17-Atu Moli, Angus Ta'avao, Patrick Tuipulotu, Matt Todd, Brad Weber, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jordie Barrett.

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

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Rhys Carre, Wyn Jones, Jake Ball, Aaron Shingler, Gareth Davies, Dan Biggar, Hadleigh Parkes.