Lions continue promotion drive
If this is what the Wellington Lions can do without anything to play for, then their rivals are in trouble come the semifinals.
Rivals might be too kind a term for the teams trailing in Wellington’s wake in the Mitre 10 Cup Championship. They lead the competition by 17 points, and have scored 371 points in just nine games. Those statistics were all boosted by their 61-12 shellacking of Southland last night.
A home semifinal awaits, and most likely a return to the Premiership, though you get the feeling they could win the Premiership if not for the antiquated divisional system.
Those beliefs wouldn’t have been shaken after the beating they put on Southland in a game practically meaningless for all involved.
Southland are now assured to finish last in the Championship, and conceding nine tries to Wellington only furthers the discussion about their place among the worst NPC sides of all time.
It’s now nine straight losses for the Southerners, by an average of 30.6 points, scoring just 15 points per game. Only the presence of Southland in 1990 — who went winless while scoring just 8.9 points per game — might deny the current iteration their inglorious title.
While Southland did initially have their fair share of possession, and spent time in Wellington’s 22, they never had the cutting edge to break the line. Conversely, Wellington ripped Southland to shreds on the counter-attack. Southland’s best defensive moment was when a beach ball strayed on to the field and halted a promising Wellington attack.
However, by then Wellington’s victory march was well under way. At this rate, they will be marching all the way to promotion.
Southland 12 (T. Boys, M. McKee tries; G. Dyer con) Wellington 61 (T. Renata, W. Mangos, J. Garden-Bachop, A. Aumua, T. Umaga-Jensen, W. Goosen, R. Verney, S. Paongo, K. Hauiti-Parapara tries; Garden-Bachop 5 cons, Renata 3 cons). Halftime: 0-35.
Will Mangos was one of nine tryscorers for Wellington.