Wellington too good in the wet for Bay of Plenty

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Thursday, August 31, 2017    Getty Images

Both Wellington and Bay of Plenty have set pulses racing with their attacking play in 2017, but a tighter game plan was required with sodden conditions prevailing at Rotorua International Stadium. 


Wellington were boosted by the inclusion of All Blacks squad member Vaea Fifita in their starting lineup and the blockbusting loose forward wasted no time making an impact early in the game. After a number of bustling runs by Fifita, Wellington had the opening try when wing Malo Tuitama went over unopposed out wide.

With their big man causing damage up the middle, Wellington’s bruising game plan took a major toll on Bay of Plenty when loose forwards Mitchell Karpik and Jesse Paraete were ruled out of the game with head knocks in the first half.

Bay of Plenty adopted an aerial attack but Wellington’s back three managed to diffuse the threat as the Steamers got increasingly frustrated in an arduous first half. Wellington had the final say of the half when powerful lock Isaia Walker-Leaware crashed over following another steady forward build up to make it 12-0 at the break.

The Steamers finally got on the board in the 48th minute through a Mike Delany penalty but Wellington answered back instantly when Jackson Garden-Bachop belied the slippery conditions to lay on a pinpoint cross kick for Ben Lam.

At 17-3 up, Wellington appeared to let the pressure off as Bay of Plenty got a roll on up front. Mike Delany then matched Garden-Bachop’s assist by chipping over the flat Wellington defence to put Terence Hepetema over.

With the lead slashed to 17-10, Wellington showed their class by lifting the tempo in the final fifteen minutes. Showing more intensity in the contact area, Wellington got their hands on the ball and Wes Goosen broke through for a brilliant individual try. The game was put well and truly out of reach when impressive young hooker Asafo Aumua went over from the back of a well-worked lineout drive to cap off a dominant display by Wellington.

Bay of Plenty 10 (Terrence Hepetema try, Mike Delany pen, con) Wellington 31 (Malo Tuitama, Isaia Walker-Leaware, Ben Lam, Wes Goosen, Asafo Aumua tries, Jackson Garden-Bachop 3 con)
HT: 0-12