Auckland complete amazing comeback

Date published: September 6 2014

Auckland scored 25 unanswered points in the second half to defeat Wellington by a single point, winning 31-30 at Eden Park.

Auckland scored 25 unanswered points in the second half to defeat Wellington by a single point, winning 31-30 at Eden Park.

Simon Hickey's try in the 71st-minute completed the unexpected turnaround, with the conversion clinching victory as Auckland's defence held firm in the dying minutes.

Wellington will be devastated at the way they let their 30-6 half-time advantage slip away, failing to score a single point in the second half.

Hickey's late input came after future Cardiff Blues and Wales fly-half Gareth Anscombe had knocked over four penalties and a conversion from full-back.

The win was only Auckland's second in the competition as they kept Wellington pinned to the bottom of the log without a victory so far in their four matches.

Jason Woodward opened the scoring for Wellington off the tee but it was Tu Umaga-Marshall's 60m interception try that kicked the game into life minutes later.

Woodward struck two more penalties before Shaun Treeby crossed after half an hour for the game's second try.

With Ambrose Curtis adding another long-range effort just before half-time, it really was the perfect first half for the away side.

Auckland's comeback though was in full swing after the break, Anscombe chipping over a penalty before Black Gibson went over for his first ITM Cup try after good work from George Moala.

Vince Aso put the pressure on Wellington before Hickey's crucial score, capping off a truly impressive comeback.

The scorers:

For Auckland:
Tries: Gibson, Hickey, Aso
Cons: Anscombe, Hickey
Pens: Anscombe 4

For Wellington:
Tries: Umaga-Marshall, Treeby, Curtis
Cons: Woodward 3
Pens: Anscombe 4

Auckland: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Vince Aso, 13 George Moala, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Lolagi Visinia, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Junior Poluleuligaga, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Sean Polwart, 6 Joe Edwards, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 William Lloyd, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Gafatasi Su'a, 17 Nick Barrett, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Blake Gibson, 20 Leon Fukofuka, 21 TJ Faiane, 22 Ben Lam.

Wellington: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Ambrose Curtis, 13 Tu Umaga-Marshall, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Belgium Tuatagaloa, 10 Chase Tiatia, 9 Frae Wilson, 8 Brad Shields (c), 7 Adam Hill, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Christian Lloyd, 4 Mark Reddish, 3 Taniela Koroi, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Tolu Fahamokioa.
Replacements: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Eric Sione, 18 Pau Halafihi, 19 Henry Stowers/Dean Brunsdon, 20 Jared Kahu, 21 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 22 Tau Mamea.

Date: Saturday, September 6
Kick-off: 14:35 local (03:35 BST, 02:35 GMT)
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Nick Briant