Lions face quick backup af­ter win

Upper Hutt Leader - - CLASSIFIED - LIAM HYSLOP

‘‘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 nine dif­fer­ent try-scor­ers by full­time. (Trent Re­nata, Will Man­gos, Thomas Umaga-

Welling­ton 61

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.

South­land 12


The Welling­ton Lions cel­e­brate Wes Goosen’s try on Satur­day night. Left, Thomas Uma­gaJensen goes over for a five-pointer.

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