Second half surge gets Lions home
Saturday, September 23, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
It wasn’t quite the demolition job they did on Canterbury last week, but the bonus point win has all but secured Wellington a home semifinal with three rounds still to play.
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The first half was a scrappy affair with neither team taking a stranglehold on the game. The defence of both teams was tight and it took until the 35 minute mark for the first try to be scored. After a steady forward build up, former Waratahs lock Sam Louisi used his bulk to barge over for the Lions.
The try seemed to spark Waikato into life and they struck back just two minutes later when Bailyn Sullivan was given too much room to roam in the midfield.
The 10-10 halftime score was a fair reflection of a hard fought 40 minutes.
Wellington came flying out of the blocks in the second half, playing with much more fluency as first five-eighth Dan Kirkpatrick finished off a well worked team try to snatch the lead back.
There was to be no looking back for the Lions as they crossed for three more tries to flanker Mateaki Kafatolu, centre Thomas Umaga-Jensen and prop Alex Fidow to cap off a dominant victory.
After an impressive start to their season, the loss is a further bump in the road for Waikato. They cannot afford anymore slip ups if they are to secure a Premiership playoff spot.
Wellington Lions captain Julian Savea said: “We were stuck in first gear in the first half. We got a rev up at the break and fortunately for us we stuck it to them in the second half and got out of first gear.”
Waikato 10 (Bailyn Sullivan try, Sevu Reece pen, con) Wellington 34 (Sam Lousi, Mateaki Kafatolu, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Alex Fidow tries, Dan Kirkpatrick try pen, con, Jackson Garden-Bachop 2 con)
FT | Wellington have struck again to secure a 34 - 10 bonus point win and extend their lead at the top of the Championship table.#WAIvWEL pic.twitter.com/ydMACrq3zN— Mitre10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) September 23, 2017
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