Mixed emotions but lesson would be learned - Retallick

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It had been good to come away with a win but their goal from the start of the year had been to make the final and obviously the semifinal loss still hurt but he was glad for the players and coaches moving on that it was good to send them out on a high.

 

When they reviewed that loss they saw opportunities they had created but not taken so to be able to take the opportunities against Wales had been satisfying.

 

"We played some rugby that All Blacks are probably more renowned for rather than what we did last week," he said.

 

One of the highlights of the game had been the opening try. Retallick said after giving the ball to prop Joe Moody (both pictured above) who scored the try it had been as if he was on a treadmill, it was the slowest 15m he had ever seen.

 

More seriously however, he said it was good to pull off a move they did several times in training in a game situation.

 

He also paid homage to captain Kieran Read.

 

"He's got so much experience, he's an outstanding leader to play under and he's going to leave a massive hole in this team. His skill and work ethic around the field are second to none," he said.

 

"It's [the tournament] been a great experience. For a lot of us it has been the hardest loss to accept last week. It's something we won't forget and I look forward I suppose to remembering it and what it felt like as a group as the next cycle moves around."

 

Replacement hooker Liam Coltman said: "It was a fantastic game tonight. After last week the boys were hurting a wee bit and we just wanted to go out there and do everybody proud."

 

There were some 'absolute legends of the game' leaving the All Blacks and to send them out after a fantastic performance was satisfying.

 

"It was great fun, the boys stuck to the game plan and it came off with the boys having played a bit of running footy."

 

Coltman said he had loved every minute of being in Japan and the World Cup had been a great experience. If his body held up he would be keen to try again in four years time.

 

The loss to England in the semifinal was something they had to carry forever and it would drive them to get better, he said.

 

Centre Ryan Crotty, who was playing his last Test said it had been an emotional day but enjoyable at the same time playing for a last time with some of his best mates.

 

"I was conscious to enjoy everything about it; enjoy the nerves, enjoy the excitement, enjoy it out there when it got tough and enjoy it when a mate got over and got a dot and give him a hug. That's probably what I was most conscious of, just go out there and have fun and do it one last time," he said.

 

Crotty said he was grateful for having the ride with the All Blacks.

 

"I'll miss just getting better every day. The coaches here are second to none and you just miss growing as a person, growing as a player. Hopefully I can continue that a wee bit here but I'll miss my mates most of all.

 

"Rugby is special, what other job can you do when you go out there and put your body on the line for the man next to you. That creates bonds that are so strong, friendships that are so tight.

 

"When you have moments out there with your mates that mean so much to you that stuff is priceless so I'll just miss my mates, hopefully we'll keep in touch," he said.

 

Another departing player Ben Smith, who scored his 38th and 39th Test tries in the game to be sixth on the all-time All Blacks list, said it had been an emotional day but he had to park all that to the side because he wanted to play as well as he could alongside teammates he had been lucky enough to play a lot of rugby with.

 

He said one of his two tries was the result of something put in place during the week by assistant coach Ian Foster and he and halfback Aaron Smith had been delighted to use it and have it pay off during the game.

 

"I just enjoyed being out there, enjoyed the moment and I'm going to miss running around in the All Blacks jersey," he said.

 

Smith said playing so long under coach Steve Hansen he had seen him evolve. He always cared for his players but he also learned from situations the side had been in and as players they had benefited from that.

 

"He's going to be missed but I suppose it is someone else's chance to take the reins and there's some good young players coming through so I'm looking forward to watching them go," he said.

 

The hurt from the semifinal loss to England would always be there and that would help those younger players who had experienced it but Friday night's win over Wales had softened the blow a little, he said.

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