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PREVIEW: Wellington v Otago

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Saturday, August 18, 2018    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Match details: Sunday August 19, 2.05pm, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Paul Williams
Played: 10 (2006-2017)
Won: Wellington 7, Otago 3
Last match: Wellington 27, Otago 24 (1 October 2017)

TALE OF THE TAPE

Wellington were near on unstoppable in 2017, dropping just one game on their way to the Championship title. Otago also had a solid season but came unstuck against Bay of Plenty in the playoffs to end their hopes of elevation to the Premiership. The clash between the two sides last year was a cracker with the Lions sneaking home 27-24.

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THOMAS THE TANK
After almost a decade playing his trade in the UK, one of Wellington’s favourite sons returns to Westpac Stadium. When Thomas Waldrom debuted for the Lions in 2001, a number of his current teammates were running around in nappies. Waldrom now returns as a seasoned-pro and will play a key role as a leader and mentor to the younger players in the side. Hard-running and skilful with ball in hand, Waldrom will form an impressive loose forward trio for the Lions alongside All Black Vaea Fifita and promising youngster Du’Plessis Kirifi.
FAST FACT (Opta)
The Lions come into this game on the back of a seven-game winning streak, the last time they won more was when they opened their 2013 campaign with nine consecutive wins.

THE SCOOP
Just like it was last year, a trip to the Caketin to face the Wellington Lions will be one of the tougher assignments in the Mitre 10 Cup. Although Otago come into this clash as underdogs, they have enough firepower out wide and strength up front to challenge the Lions. If it’s a dry day in the capital, expect plenty of running from two exciting backlines.

TEAMS
Wellington:

1: Tolu Fahamokioa 2: James O’Reilly 3: Joel Hintz 4: James Blackwell 5: Isaia Walker-Leaware 6: Vaea Fifita 7: Du’Plessis Kirifi 8: Thomas Waldrom 9: Sheridan Rangihuna 10: Jackson Garden-Bachop 11: Wes Goosen 12: Thomas Umaga-Jensen 13: Peter Umaga-Jensen 14: Malo Tuitama 15: Trent Renata
Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Kaliopasi Uluilakepa, Alexander Barendregt, Will Mangos, Greg Foe, Kemera Hauiti-Parapara, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Billy Proctor

Otago
1: Aki Seiuli 2: Sam Anderson-Heather 3: Hisa Sasagi 4: Tom Rowe 5: Josh Dickson 6: Joketani Koroi 7: Slade McDowall 8: Dylan Nel 9: Josh Renton 10: Finn Strawbridge 11: Jona Nareki 12: Sio Tomkinson 13: Matt Faddes 14: Josh Timu 15: Vilimoni Koroi

Reserves: Sekonaia Pole, Tom Hill, Donald Brighouse, Sione Misiloi, Sam Dickson, Kurt Hammer, Matt Whaanga, Taylor Haugh