Lions face quick backup after win
‘‘We've got to keep it pretty simple really, you don't get overcomplicated in short turnarounds.’’
The Wellington Lions will need to front up again physically if they are going to overcome a quick turnaround against a motivated Northland team.
With a home semifinal and final (if they make it) already sewn up, the 61-12 thrashing of Southland on Saturday night in Invercargill looked more like a training run than a competitive rugby match at times.
But Wellington coach Chris Gibbes said he was pleased with how his side put Southland away.
‘‘I’m very satisfied. It’s a credit to that group that went down there. It is a tricky place to go and the whole management team was very impressed with how the boys went about that game. They worked really hard to get a good performance, they were pretty clinical in a lot of the stuff we did, so it’s really good.’’
Wellington began their recovery with a pool session in Invercargill on Sunday morning, before flying back in the afternoon.
That was needed with their final round robin match coming up on Thursday at Westpac Stadium against what Gibbes described as a ‘‘physical, abrasive’’ Northland team.
‘‘We’ve got to keep it pretty simple really, you don’t get overcomplicated in short turnarounds.
‘‘The guys that are selected for Northland are going to have a tough assignment on their hands, but that’s part and parcel of the competition.
‘‘They’ve got firepower across the board and will fancy their chances of coming down here and having a real lick at us.’’
Northland appear in the box seat to make the championship division semifinals, but a closer looks shows they need to win at Westpac Stadium on Thursday.
They sit on 25 points after nine matches, with Bay of Plenty on 23, Manawatu on 22 and Otago on 21, although Manawatu have a game in hand on the rest.
If those teams’ remaining games went to form and Northland get nothing from their match against Wellington, then they could find themselves on the outer.
BOP meet an out-of-sorts Waikato team next Saturday, Manawatu have a Ranfurly Shield challenge against Taranaki and a very winnable match against Hawke’s Bay, while Otago should have a bonus-point win coming when they host winless Southland next weekend.
As for Saturday’s match, Wellington led 35-0 by halftime and had eight different try-scorers by fulltime. (Trent Renata, Will Mangos, Thomas Umaga-
Jensen, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Asafo Aumua, Wes Goosen, Regan Verney, Sitiveni Paongo, Kemera Hauiti-Parapara tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 5 con, Renata 3 con) (Tim Boys, Mike McKee tries; Greg Dyer con). HT: 35-0.
The Wellington Lions celebrate Wes Goosen’s try on Saturday night. Left, Thomas UmagaJensen goes over for a five-pointer.