The All Blacks may have missed out on the World Cup's ultimate prize, but they are right in the running for another unofficial top gong - the cutest moment of this year's tournament.

It arrived shortly after the All Blacks had brushed aside Wales in the third/fourth place playoff match in Tokyo, winning 40-17.

As the All Blacks were called onto the makeshift stage in the middle of the Tokyo Stadium to receive their bronze medals, Ben Smith's young children, Annabelle and Walter, were there to receive their dad's medal on his behalf from World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.

Spark Sport commentators Scotty Stevenson called it "the cutest thing I have seen".

Advertisement

"Ben Smith and the kids. I think that is about the cutest thing I have seen," Stevenson said.

"Call me a big softie Beav [co-commentator Stephen Donald], but I don't know how you can't like a game like this."

Smith played his 84th - and final - test against the Welsh. He will join French club Pau next season.

After the match, Smith said his family had been a big part of his career.

"They're a big part of what I do - it means a lot," said Smith, holding back tears.

"I have played with some great men, and made some great memories. I would like to thank everyone for their support, especially the people in the south. There have been some great times along the way."

He's not the only experienced All Black to say goodbye to the team. Coach Steve Hansen, assistant Mike Cron, captain Kieran Read, Ryan Crotty, Sonny Bill Williams and Matt Todd all off.

All Blacks prop Nepo Laulala also had his young child on the stage, and Williams' children were also around.

Advertisement
New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams sits on the field with one of his daughters after the Rugby World Cup bronze final. Photo / AP
New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams sits on the field with one of his daughters after the Rugby World Cup bronze final. Photo / AP