Expectation, support key elements for All Blacks

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Read said after Saturday's 7-19 loss to England in Yokohama that he appreciated the support the All Blacks got from New Zealand and if they didn't have that support things would feel different. Next year he would be in the same boat as a fan and wanting the All Blacks to win.

 

"It's the nature of who we are as New Zealanders. I think we have learnt a lot over the last dozen years or so about loss and perspective, what it means to be a fan.

 

"I think we as a nation are just passionate about little things that we can do because we are a little nation that can punch above our weight and we understand that it is part of our job as All Blacks to try and achieve things for us. I would hate to lose the expectation and all that comes with being an All Black."

 

Read said having to play for third place against Wales on Friday would be a little bit different than usual, but they would prepare as they did for every Test match to go out and perform as best they could.

 

"We're All Blacks, so it's a chance for us to pull on the jersey again and for some of us it may be our last chance. There's a few things there we'll work through this week and come Friday we'll be ready to go," he said.

 

"We're a team that is talented, hard-working, puts a lot in and we're so well connected that you take a loss like this and you see how much it hurts us that we'll bounce back as well as we can but the thing is we'll stay tight.

 

"The young guys, I'm sure, if they've got opportunities to come back in four years time will be able to hold onto this feeling, this moment, and go 'Man I don't want to be here again'.

 

"In regards to Friday, personally, you want to go out there and play well. It is going to be my last chance and I think as a team we want to go out and play well because it's probably the last thing we'll remember but you might have a bit of a positive to spin on this World Cup," he said.

 

Read said the semifinal loss would not define the group. There was no way around the fact they were disappointed but there would be a lot of people going through the same emotions and they felt for them as well.

 

"As the leader you look at ways you could have done things differently but that's all hindsight, it's not going to affect your emotions right now and it's not going to change the fact we lost. As I said, we did what we did and I'm really proud of what we put out there in terms of our effort and character and energy, attitude was fantastic and I wouldn't go out there with any other blokes than what we had out there last night," he said.

 

Read said coming back to the hotel after the game to find birthday cards from his children waiting for him put everything into perspective.

 

"It's a rugby game, and people care, we care, so you enjoy moments but I'm a dad and that's first and foremost and the thing I want to be remembered by," he said.

 

"It's all relative when you think about it. My kids aren't going to love me less or whatever, but for me it is a tough pill to swallow because of the effort you put in and how much the guys beside me and everyone has put in and it's the connections you have with your mates that make it tough.

 

"But your families and the ones close to you go through that ride as well. They hurt and struggle," he said.

 

Fullback Beauden Barrett backed Read's sentiments.

 

"It's tough, we put so much into an event like this and to fall one game short is extremely tough to take. But we left it all out there and we gave it everything so I guess we can be proud of that," Barrett said.

 

The week would be about enjoying each other's company because it would be the last time they were all going to be together, he said.

 

Lock Sam Whitelock added: "It's tough, it's a bit of a weird feeling at the moment but speaking for myself I would have loved to have played a little better out there but it's history now, I can't change it so it's our job [as leaders] to make sure we get back on the horse as quickly and as best we can."

 

The next step was Friday's game and while it was a new experience for him it was a case of preparing, leaving no one behind, staying connected as a team, which would be the first major step in putting together a final performance they could be proud of, he said.

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