Both sides were prepared to slug it out if needed and their stated intention beforehand was to win whatever it takes to save something from the Rugby World Cup where they were both eliminated from the semi-finals.
The two losing finalists bowed out of the 2019 RWC with Wales still looking for their first win over the All Blacks since 1953, and the All Blacks clinging to their (now lowly) third place on the World rankings with the win going to New Zealand, 40-17.
It didn’t quite turn into the expected arm-wrestle and some pleasant and good running rugby was played. Wales were outrun from the outset although they fought bravely to pull back the 14-0 to 14-10 until shortly minutes before halftime before New Zealand scored two more goals to make if 28-10.
There simply never was a need for the All Blacks to get into an arm-wrestle as they had to do against England and it was the free-running All Blacks machine one got used to before they stuttered in the semi-final that turned up to take control
And who else than Beauden Barrett at the back and Brodie Retallick in the engine room who led the way for the winners in the early stages?
It became 35-10 shortly after the resumption but the belief of the Welsh wasn’t extinguished. They piled on phase after phase on the All Blacks line for minutes on end and eventually scored after 60 minutes. At 35-17 the New Zealand lead still required at least three unanswered tries by Wales, and that was simply too much to ask of them.
In a second half where the rugby was of lesser standard with too many errors by both sides, the All Blacks scored a further two tries to one and finished with six tries to two.
New Zealand (28) 40: Tries: Joe Moody, Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith (2), Ryan Crotty, Richie Mo’unga. Conversions: Mo’unga (5)
Wales (10) 17: Tries: Hallam Amos, Josh Adams. Conversion: Rhys Patchell, Dan Biggar. Penalty: Patchell