Wellington forward power too much for Magpies

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017    Andy Burt    Getty Images

A key strength of the Lions this year has been their potent forward ball-runners and it was no different tonight as the Magpies missed 34 tackles in the face of some ferocious running from the Wellington pack.


Lions hooker Asafo Aumua has lit up the competition this year and his late injury withdrawal from the match-day 23 would have pleased Magpies fans. But Aumua’s absence did nothing to detract from the Lions potency with prop Alex Fidow and hooker Sitiveni Paongo particularly destructive with three tries between them.

With their forwards punching plenty of holes up the middle, the Lions talented backline benefited out wide with Julian Savea, Wes Goosen and Malo Tuitama all crossing for tries in the victory.

Hawke’s Bay have been ravaged by injury this year and always had it against them taking on a red-hot Lions side with 13 players out injured. Despite conceding three tries and missing 22 tackles in the first half, the Magpies were buoyed by a well-deserved try on the stroke of halftime to second five-eighth Cardiff Vaega to make it 19-8 at the break.

Any confidence the Magpies garnered from their encouraging passage before the halftime break was immediately evaporated as prop Alex Fidow barged over to complete a double and centre Wes Goosen went over on the back of a scintillating counter attack.

With the Lions lead at 33-8, the game lost all shape as both teams made mass changes. Hawke’s Bay finally got some continuity with ball in hand and showed some promising signs by crossing for tries to Jason Long, Sam McNicol and Jorian Tangaere to close the gap to 40-27 at fulltime.

The late Magpies flurry ensure they would not walk away from Westpac Stadium empty-handed and will provide some much needed confidence ahead of a potential season-defining clash against Otago on Sunday.

Wellington 40 (Julian Savea, Sitiveni Paongo, Alex Fidow 2, Wes Goosen, Malo Tuitama tries, Jackson Garden-Bachop 5 con) Hawke’s Bay 27 (Cardiff Vaega, Jason Long, Sam McNicol, Jorian Tangaere tries, Tiaan Falcon pen, 2 con)
HT: 19-8