Steve Hansen hints at New Zealand rotation against Wales in play-off
Last Updated: 28/10/19 8:17am
Steve Hansen has hinted he will make changes to his New Zealand starting XV when they face Wales in the World Cup third-place play-off.
Hansen will lead the All Blacks into a Test match for the final time on Friday, ending a long and successful eight-year spell as head coach.
Captain Kieran Read, if selected, will pull on the All Blacks jersey for the final time, as will a number of other senior players, but Hansen said that he has not yet spoken to his squad about who may be in the match-day 23.
He must decide whether or not to call on the players who came through the intense and physical semi-final defeat to England or to hand the torch immediately to a new generation.
"There are two options; you ask the guys who went around on Saturday to go around again, or you use your whole squad," Hansen said.
"We've always said we're a team of 31 and we've been working hard for each other so I would probably, if I was a journalist writing a story, be writing about a few extra guys coming in. If there is, they probably deserve to be there."
Read will almost certainly start in the All Blacks No 8 shirt and his team-mates will hope to help him finish his 127th Test on a high note.
"We're playing, so we will treat it like any Test match," Read said. "It will be a bit different for us, but... we're All Blacks, so it's a chance for us to pull on the jersey again.
"For some of us it may be our last chance."
New Zealand will be playing in the bronze medal match for the fourth time, Wales for the third.
Wales were part of the first-ever playoff, beating a 14-man Australia lineup 22-21 in 1987, and lost to Australia 21-18 in 2011.
New Zealand beat Scotland 13-6 in 1991, lost to South Africa 22-18 in 1999 and beat France 46-13 in 2003.