27 Oct 2019

Mixed feelings as All Blacks head into bronze medal match

5:52 pm on 27 October 2019

All Blacks fans in Japan have mixed feelings about their team playing in next weekend's Rugby World Cup bronze medal match.

2019 Rugby World Cup Semi-Final, International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan 26/10/2019
England vs New Zealand
New Zealand’s Jack Goodhue dejected
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie / www.photosport.nz

After England defeated the All Blacks, the New Zealand team will face the loser of Sunday's second semifinal. Photo: INPHO 2019

After being beaten by England, New Zealand will face the loser of Sunday's second semifinal between Wales and South Africa in the third place playoff in Tokyo.

It will be the fourth time the All Blacks have played in the match, having beaten Scotland in 1991 and France in 2003, but lost to South Africa in 1999.

Mark Elkington and Andrea Boock from Blenheim were at the semifinal loss to England in Yokohama and said although it would be a bit strange, they would still head along to the third place playoff.

"It's not an easy game to watch, and we're not great at watching it but we have to send [Kieran] Read and [Steve] Hansen and the rest off them off, so we just have to do it for them," Mark said.

"We're here in Japan and we want to support everyone that's playing rugby," added Andrea.

"That's part of experiencing rugby in another country."

Mark, though, joked the semifinal defeat did present an opportunity.

"I've got a ticket to the final for 10 grand, if anyone wants it."

Several other Kiwis were also staying upbeat, despite the result.

Aucklanders Nicola and Nigel said while they were gutted, they would definitely be going to the match for bronze.

However, they did admit that feeling was helped by the fact they had tickets for that game, but not the final.

The semifinal defeat to England was Joel's first time being in the stands to watch the All Blacks.

A member of popular Kiwi band Sons of Zion, the Aucklander said he hadn't been deterred from heading to the third-place playoff.

"I'll be there, I've got tickets.

"Obviously not the one we wanted to be in but, you know, it's Japan. You've got to celebrate all the victories and all the losses.

"You've just got to celebrate the World Cup as it is and just move on to the next one."

Faye and Barry Foster from Amberley were also at the shock loss to France in the quarterfinals of the 2007 World Cup.

Faye said the feeling after that match was much worse, and Barry hoped the All Blacks would go all out for the bronze medal.

"We can't go away and sulk about it, can we?

"We were overwhelming favourites and I think we were probably a bit overconfident. But we've got to turn up and give it our best. I'll be disappointed if we don't."

The All Blacks' success at the past two tournaments also helped some feel less down about the result.

Greer from Christchurch said after winning back-to-back World Cups, fans shouldn't be too negative about playing in the bronze medal fixture.

"Over the years we've been the winners for so long. It's probably our turn to be the bronze medallists or whatever we're going to get.

"We've been on top for a long time and you've got to be humble about the losses and turn up like all the other sides and play another good game."

But not all Kiwi supporters were able to swallow the loss so easily.

A Phillipines-based Kiwi, Jackson, and his Japanese friend, Sou, said they were seriously considering changing their plans after the loss to England.

"I was talking a lot of positive talk. You know, within 20 inside 20, that's the All Blacks' mantra but somehow time just evaporated.

"I've also got tickets to the final and now I'm at a loss. They'll probably be sold - in fact I've already sold them three times over in my head."

The prospect of a third place playoff also wasn't greeted with such positive feelings by some New Zealanders streaming out of Yokohama Stadium after the semifinal defeat.

Dubai-based Kiwi Alan wasn't so keen on having much to do with a match for a bronze medal.

"I just don't know why we have a losers game, nobody wants to be there."

All Blacks fan Mark Archer said the bronze medal match held no interest for anyone.

"The third-place playoff is the worst rugby match of all time."