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Lions claim maximum points against Otago

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Sunday, August 19, 2018    allblacks.com    Getty Images

The Lions only dropped one game in 2017 on their way to lifting the Championship title and picked up where they left off with two Wes Goosen tries in the opening ten minutes.

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Normally known for his rampaging ball-running, imposing loose forward Vaea Fifita laid on deft touches in each try as Goosen showcased his slick finishing ability to give the Lions the early 14-0 advantage.

The lead soon stretched to 17 points as Jackson Garden-Bachop stroked over a penalty. From there it was always going to be a long road back for Otago.

Otago are not a team to roll over lightly though and tightened up their defensive structures to starve the home-side of anymore try-scoring opportunities in the first half.

Debutant first five-eighth Finn Strawbridge chipped away at Wellington’s lead with three penalties to close the gap to 17-9 early in the second half and give Otago some hope.

With Wellington’s loose forward trio of the returning Thomas Waldrom, All Black Vaea Fifita and promising youngster Du’Plessis Kirifi getting through a mountain of work on defence and at the breakdown, the Lions always seemed to have the edge.



A brilliant counter-attack try to right wing Malo Tuitama stretched the Lions out to an imposing 27-9 with just 20 minutes remaining.

Otago answered back soon after with a well-constructed try for replacement Kurt Hammer but it was to be the Lions day as Tuitama bagged a double in the closing minutes to secure the bonus point win.

Next week, the Lions head south to face Canterbury in a blockbuster clash while Otago face Hawkes Bay at Forsyth-Barr Stadium.

Scorers:
Wellington 34 (Wes Goosen 2, Malo Tuitama 2 tries, Jackson Garden-Bachop 4 con, 2 pen) Otago 16 (Kurt Hammer try, Finn Strawbridge 3 pen, Sio Tomkinson con)