Warren Gatland signed off his Welsh tenure by heaping pressure on the next management team to match his efforts.

Gatland's final test in charge of Wales ended with a one-sided 40-17 defeat to the All Blacks in the World Cup playoff for third in Tokyo following their loss to South Africa in last week's semifinal.

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Gatland's 12-year tenure included four Six Nations titles, including three Grand Slams, and a first stint as the world's number one-ranked side just before this tournament.

Wales coach Warren Gatland walks off the field before the Rugby World Cup semifinal: Photo / AP
Wales coach Warren Gatland walks off the field before the Rugby World Cup semifinal: Photo / AP

At World Cups, Gatland guided Wales to two semifinal defeats – the other in 2011 against France at Eden Park – and their quarterfinal loss to South Africa four years ago.

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Former Auckland turned Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac, alongside Welsh first five-eighth Stephen Jones, will now succeed Gatland and he made it clear he hopes standards are maintained.

Pivac's first task is taking on the Gatland-led Barbarians in Cardiff this month before the Six Nations next year. In his first overseas tour, Pivac will then lead Wales to New Zealand in July.

"I just want them to continue," Gatland said. "There's an opportunity for the new group to come in and improve on what we've created.

"It's not being too greedy in terms of winning the Six Nations every year but performing well and making sure we're competitive as we can be against the other top nations and we feel we've done that.

"I really hope what we've achieved in the last 10 or 12 years – we feel like we've put respect back into Wales as an international team. Hopefully the coaches coming in continue to build on that.

"It would break my heart if Wales went back into the doldrums."

Gatland mentioned the injury toll Wales suffered against the Boks last week and their five-day turnaround prior to this match but made no other excuses for the defeat.

Warren Gatland and his Welsh team: Photo / AP
Warren Gatland and his Welsh team: Photo / AP

"In fairness to the All Blacks they played exceptionally well they were great on attack. There probably wasn't a lot of difference between the two sides in the second half.

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"No complaints about the result the All Blacks were great and they deserved to win."

Next year Gatland will take charge of the Chiefs and he will also lead the British and Irish Lions for a third time on their tour of South Africa in 2021.

"It was about the players today. Shaun Edwards spoke to the group and so did Robin McBryde. There wasn't a lot to be said. We spoke about how disappointed we were to not be in the final but at least the All Blacks were a game you could look forward to.

"I've already gone through that sort of process and knowing it was my last game and not trying to get too emotional about it. I came to the realisation a while ago so it was something I prepared myself for."