10 from 10 on the 10th ? Wellington’s goal
WALKING WOUNDED: Hawke’s Bay have made three changes with looshead Adrian Barone making way for Max Lahiff. Karl Lowe replaces Mark Atkins at No 8 while Zac Guildford will employ his lethal counterattacking abilities in the No 15 jumper vacated by Trinity Spooner-Neera.Chris Boyd has kept most of the Wellington side that looked solid in its win over Auckland. All eyes will be on Corey Jane, who takes another step in his comeback by moving into the starting lineup. On the opposite flank, the bruising Alapati Leiua will want to mark his 50th game in style.
FORM: Hawke’s Bay left it late, but were able to exploit some poor decision-making when Southland looked like stealing the win.
The 23-15 victory was their second on the trot and provided momentum that will be important as they head into the knockout stages of the competition.
Guildford’s instinctive abilities with ball in hand have been key this season and Wellington must be prepared to tackle well if they kick ball down his channel.
Meanwhile, Wellington saw off the challenge of Auckland in a one-sided contest at Westpac Stadium last Saturday.
With their eight-game winning streak on the line, the Lions roared into the match with Ardie Savea causing havoc on both sides of the ball.
Coach Boyd will be urging his troops to avoid a slip at the last hurdle, and the return of Jane to the run on side is a signal of their intentions to come out with all guns blazing.
WE THINK: Although many games have been close-run affairs. The Lions generally find a way to get the job done and, with a couple of high-class game-breakers like Savea, Jane and Vito, they should once again manage to get the four points. The margin really won’t matter, but we expect to see a heap of points.
Wellington: 1. Reggie Goodes, 2. Motu Matu’u, 3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 4. Mark Reddish, 5. Kaipati Gaualofa, 6. Brad Shields, 7. Ardie Savea, 8. Victor Vito (c), 9. Tomasi Palu, 10. Lima Sopoaga, 11. Alapati Leiua, 12. Charlie Ngatai, 13. Tim Bateman, 14. Joe Hill, 15. Cory Jane.
Reserves: 16. John Schwalger, 17. Eric Sione, 18. Api Naikatini, 19. Faifili Levave, 20. Genesis Mamea, 21. Kayne Hammington, 22. Afa Fa’atau.
Hawke’s Bay:1. Max Lahiff, 2. Ash Dixon, 3. Brendon Edmonds, 4. Michael Allardice, 5. Mark Abbott, 6. Mike Coman (c), 7. Brednon O’Connor, 8. Karl Lowe, 9. Alby Mathewson, 10. Ihaia West, 11. Mikey Vuicakau, 12. Andrew Horrell, 13. Richard Buckman, 14. Telusa Veainu, 15. Zac Guildford.
Reserves: 16. Ged Robinson, 17. Adrian Barone, 18. Trent Bosswell-Wakefield, 19. Mark Atkins, 20. Chris Eaton, 21. Adam Bradey, 22. Penikolo Latu.
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