The Ricoh Wellington Lions’ final ITM Cup round-robin match for 2013 brings with it a special milestone for Alapati Leiua.
Tomorrow night’s match against Hawke’s Bay in Napier will be the dynamic winger’s 50thappearance for the Lions.Having recently returned from injury, Leiua said the achievement had been a long time coming.
“It means a lot to play 50 games for a team I grew up supporting,” he said.
“It’s been a tough seven weeks recovering from surgery and getting myself match-fit, but I’m very fortunate and excited to have finally achieved this great milestone.”
With a home semi-final already in the bag, the Lions are by no means in relaxation mode.
Coaches Chris Boyd and Richard Watt have named a full-strength side to face the Magpies on their home patch.
Although largely the same as last week’s line-up, Cory Jane will make his first start at fullback since returning from injury, with Charlie Ngatai moving to second five-eighth.
Prop Reggie Goodes rotates in once again for John Schwalger, who will come off the bench, while Kaipati Gaualofa slots back into the starting line-up.
The match kicks off at McLean Park at 7.35pm.
The Wellington Lions line-up is;
1. Reggie Goodes (Poneke)
2. Motu Matu’u (Oriental-Rongotai)
3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (Marist St Pats)
4. Mark Reddish (Oriental-Rongotai)
5. Kaipati Gaualofa (Tawa)
6. Brad Shields (Petone)
7. Ardie Savea (Oriental-Rongotai)
8. Victor Vito (c) (Marist St Pats)
9. Tomasi Palu (Norths)
10. Lima Sopoaga (Old Boys University)
11. Alapati Leiua (Norths)
12. Charlie Ngatai (Poneke)
13. Tim Bateman (Old Boys University)
14. Joe Hill (Old Boys University)
15. Cory Jane (Upper Hutt)
16. John Schwalger (Norths)
17. Eric Sione (Norths)
18. Api Naikatini (Norths)
19. Faifili Levave (Norths)
20. Genesis Mamea (Wainuiomata)
21. Kayne Hammington (Upper Hutt)
22. Afa Fa’atau (Oriental-Rongotai)