At a glance
Will Hopoate, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Konrad Hurrell, David Fusitu’a, Tui Lolohead, Ata Hingano, Andrew Fifita, Sione Katoa, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Manu Ma’u, Sika Manu (c), Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: Siliva Havili, Sam Moa, Tevita Pangai jr, Ben Murdoch-Masila.
Anthony Layoun, Travis Robinson, James Elias, Adam Doueihi, Abbas Miski, Mitchell Moses, Robbie Farah (c), Tim Mannah, Michael Lichaa, Alex Twal, Nick Kassis, Ahmad Ellaz, Jamie Clark. Interchange: Mitchell Mamary, Ray Moujalli, Elias Sukkar, Jason Webhe.
‘‘Their starting forward pack - [Sio Siua] Taukeiaho, [Andrew] Fifita and [Jason] Taumalolo are a massive part of their team.
‘‘They get their sets rolling and their halves can play off the back of that.
‘‘If we can minimise the metres they make, we will definitely be in the game.
‘‘We are all going to have to have the best games we’ve ever played.’’
Moses said his halves combination with South Sydney’s Farah, a former Australian and NSW State of Origin hooker, had been ‘‘going good’’, but he felt ‘‘last week we had a few hiccups in our attack’’ against Australia.
‘‘We will watch the video and look to fix that up. We can’t afford to go doing that against a quality side like Tonga.’’
The 23-year-old, who started his NRL career at the Wests Tigers club that was once captained by Farah, felt that Lebanon could ‘‘probably get that edge over them’’ in the halves if they can control the middle.
‘‘But we are just going to have to stop their forwards first.
‘‘Whatever the NRL boys in our side can feed off to the other boys, it’s going to be a massive help.’’ The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. For Hamish Bennett and Logan van Beek, however, it literally and metaphorically is.
The former Canterbury speedsters made the move to Wellington one season after the other, and combined to tear their old team apart on Wednesday at the Basin Reserve, continuing the theme of the 2017-18 Plunket Shield season.
With the New Zealand A squad named this week for a tour match against the West Indies, Bennett could count himself unlucky not to be included with Adam Milne, Lockie Ferguson and Scott Kuggeleijn preferred.
Bennett took 5-14 from 10.5 overs, while van Beek snared 3-33 from 13, as Canterbury folded for just 118 on a green wicket.
They lead the Plunket Shield wicket taking table with 22 and 21 respectively, at averages of 10 and 13.95, in just their fourth game of the season.
What Canterbury would give for that sort of production with the ball in hand.
Wellington are unbeaten through three games, taking maximum points as their batsmen fire and their bowlers take 20 wickets a game.
In fact, leading the batting for Wellington has been another former Canterbury man in Michael Papps, who scored a triple century in the first game of the season.
But the bowling has been the most impressive aspect of Bruce Edgar’s squad.
Bennett opens up with Ollie Newton, with van Beek and Iain McPeake providing back up as first and second change.
The key to their bowling, according to Edgar, has been that they don’t allow the batsmen a release. They are constantly hitting good lines and lengths, forcing batsmen into poor shots.
That was the case on Wednesday when the likes of Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls got out caught behind, wafting at balls they could have and probably should have left.
However Wellington, despite Papps, who made 44, and Luke Woodcock featuring with a 75-run opening stand, stumbled later in the day before finishing at stumps on 143-7.
Otago opener Hamish Rutherford made 142 in his team’s first day score of 319-5 against Central Districts in Dunedin.
Hamish Bennett is relishing his role playing for Wellington.