THERE was no fairytale finish for Warren Gatland as Wales suffered a 40-17 defeat to New Zealand in the battle for World Cup bronze.

The head coach had hoped to sign off after 12 years at the helm with a famous win against the All Blacks but it never looked likely in Tokyo.

Wales looked frazzled, physically and mentally, after the five-day turnaround from their agonising semi-final defeat to South Africa.

They rallied to stop the scoreboard getting too messy but the All Blacks, as clinical as ever in the 22 ran in six tries and exposed some sloppy defence.

Wales produced the odd flashes with ball in hand but were second best by a distance against a New Zealand side saying their own farewells to boss Steve Hansen and inspirational captain Kieran Read.

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New Zealand should have opened the scoring in the fourth minute only for Richie Mo’unga to hit the right post, but after missing out on three points they soon had seven.

Patchell’s clearance kick was kept in play and the forwards combined with Kieran Read and Brodie Retallick offloading for loosehead Joe Moody to race over.

Wales, with the pressure off, were more daring with ball in hand than against the Springboks but their defence was opened up too easily for a second score, tighthead Dillon Lewis offering a massive gap for Beaden Barrett to glide over.

Mo'unga made it 14-0 after 14 minutes but the Welsh response was strong and they were held up over the line after a penalty was kicked to the corner.

Wales stayed in the 22 and their patience was rewarded when after multiple phases the ball was worked left for former Dragons full-back Hallam Amos to finish smartly after a dummy.

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Fly-half Rhys Patchell converted and then knocked over a penalty to make it 14-10 after 26 entertaining minutes.

Wales had settled but the game moved away from them before half-time.

First they were punished by a strong New Zealand counter-ruck in the 33rd minute to steal possession and allow wing Ben Smith to step past the weak tackles of flanker James Davies and prop Lewis to finish expertly, the conversion making it 21-10.

And the classy winger, on his farewell performance on the international stage, had the final say of the half when he raced over from a glorious pass to the right wing by scrum-half Aaron Smith.

With Dragons number eight Ross Moriarty in agony after a strong Shannon Frizzell charge, Mo’unga added the conversion for a 28-10 lead at the break.

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Just two minutes after the restart it was 35-10 when New Zealand pilfered a lineout in the 22 and then Sonny Bill Williams conjured a lovely blind offload for midfield partner Ryan Crotty to go over.

A knock on denied Ben Smith a hat-trick after some lovely interplay and Wales rang the changes to try and reenergise, with the rare sight of Alun Wyn Jones heading for the bench before the hour.

Wales rallied and wing Josh Adams went over for his seventh try of the tournament – one ahead of Shane Williams for a Welsh record – from close range after the All Blacks’ line had been hammered.

Yet New Zealand had the final say when Mo’unga went over down the left from a five-metre scrum, with Wales just thankful that the men in black hadn’t kept their foot on the gas throughout.

Wales: H Amos; O Lane, J Davies, O Watkin (H Parkes 61), J Adams; R Patchell (D Biggar 46), T Williams (G Davies 46); N Smith (R Carre 43), K Owens (E Dee 43), D Lewis (W Jones 77), A Beard, A W Jones (captain, J Ball 56), J Tipuric, J Davies, R Moriarty (A Shingler 46).

Scorers: tries – H Amos, J Adams; conversions – R Patchell, D Biggar; penalty – R Patchell.

New Zealand: B Barrett; B Smith, R Crotty, S Bill-Williams, R Ioane; R Mo'unga; A Smith; J Moody, D Coles, N Laulala, B Retallick, S Barrett, S Frizzell, S Cane, K Read (captain).

Replacements: L Coltman, A Moli, A Ta'avao, P Tuipulotu, M Todd, B Weber, A Lienert-Brown, J Barrett.

Scorers: tries – J Moody, B Barrett, B Smith (2), R Crotty, R Mo’unga; conversions – R Mo’unga (5)

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)