Li­ons con­tinue pro­mo­tion drive

Herald on Sunday - - IN OTHER NEWS - By Niall An­der­son

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.

Getty Im­ages

Will Man­gos was one of nine tryscor­ers for Welling­ton.

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