Whose idea was this one? I mean, come on, who wants to play off to see who came third for heaven’s sake.
The World Cup ended for these two sides last weekend and now they have to turn up and parade around like some show pony at a Harvest Fair.
Wales have made nine changes from their starting XV that lost to South Africa 19-16 last Sunday in the semi-final.
Nicky Smith starts for Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis comes in for Tomas Francis, Adam Beard is in place of Jake Ball, Justin Tipuric starts at six for Aaron Wainwright, James Davies takes over at openside for Tipuric, Tomos Williams replaces Gareth Davies and Rhys Patchell takes over at fly-half for Dan Biggar.
Owen Watkin comes in at 12 for Hadleigh Parkes, while Owen Lane starts on the right-wing to make his World Cup debut after being flown out as an injury replacement. Finally, Hallam Amos starts at 15 for the injured Leigh Halfpenny.
This Wales side is so injury-depleted that three of those lads who normally sit in the stands with daffodils on their heads are on the bench.
New Zealand on the other hand have made seven changes to the starting XV that lost to England 19-7 in last Saturday’s semi-final.
Dane Coles comes in at hooker for Codie Taylor, Shannon Frizell starts at blindside flanker for Scott Barrett who moves to the second row replacing Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane goes to openside flanker replacing Ardie Savea. Taylor, Whitelock and Savea all drop out of the 23.
Both centres and wings are changed, with Anton Liernert-Brown dropping to the bench with Sonny Bill Williams starting at 12, Jack Goodhue gets dropped out of the 23 for Ryan Crotty who starts at 12 along with wings George Bridge and Sevu Reece, who are replaced by Rieko Ioane and Ben Smith.
You can see where this one is going with depth like that. The handicap is New Zealand (-20), take that all day and run.
Top Pick: New Zealand (-20) – 10/11
This game is being played between two sides whose players always perform to their peak in their respective red and black jerseys.
New Zealand are giving a going away ‘cap’ to a few of their big names with Kieran Read, Sonny Bill Williams and Ben Smith all set to wear the silver fern for the last time. Going along with this nostalgic strain, I think that Wales could be vulnerable through the centre and with both sides not really ‘worried’ about the consequences of their actions this weekend, I fancy New Zealand to have some trick plays up their sleeve off scrum and lineout.
Therefore, a good shout for first time try scorer could very well be the one and only Sonny Bill.
The former and maybe soon to be again, Rugby League star, is always good for a try or two.
Pick: Sonny Bill Williams first try scorer – 11/1
The All Blacks have won each of their past 30 test encounters with Wales. For them, this is their longest winning streak, at any time, against any given opponents. The last win by Wales over New Zealand came on December 19, 1953.
But, we are an optimistic bunch and we think Wales are going to score a try at some point. This is both Warren Gatland and Steve Hansen’s last games in charge and there has to be something in the playbook that we have not seen before.
Wales are all about work rate in the forwards and if they are going to get anything from this game it could come from their eight big men. Dead rubbers like these often give defence coaches nightmares and this weekend’s tie should be no different.
Should Wales use ‘Warren ball’ to get over the line, or even if they loosen the straps and allow them to play a little more, Ross Moriarty is going to be at the forefront of both.
Pick: Ross Moriarty to score a try in 80 minutes – 6/1
* All odds correct at time of posting.