Wellington bounced back from heavy back-to-back ITM Cup defeats with a dominant 43-19 win over Northland on Wednesday.
Wellington bounced back from heavy back-to-back ITM Cup defeats with a dominant 43-19 win over Northland at Wespac Stadium on Wednesday.
The Lions' six-tries-to-one victory lifts them off the bottom of the Premiership table and into sixth place above Southland.
Wellington wing Alapati Leiua bagged a brace for the hosts, while scrum-half Frae Wilson, loose forwards Faifili Levave and Victor Vito and replacement hooker Dane Coles all crossed the whitewash.
The Taniwha were held try-less until late in the match when Northland skipper Jared Payne scored a runaway try with the outcome already decided.
The game was officially over as a contest after the Lions roared into a 22-6 half-time lead thanks to three tries scored, and continued their dominance early in the second half with number eight Levave's touchdown bringing up Wellington's bonus point.
The Northlanders chipped away at Wellington's lead after Lachie Munro added his fourth penalty goal of the night, but the home side put the result beyond doubt with their fifth try to replacement flank Victor Vito.
With the match all but wrapped up, Coles' first act of the one-sided encounter was to score a try, pouncing over the whitewash following a dart at the line by replacement number nine TJ Perenara. Lima Sopoaga's fifth conversion from six attempts extended the advantage to 43-12.
Full-back Cory Jane made a lovely run up the touchline, kicked and chased and forced Northland back on to the defensive inside their 22.
Northland scrambled out of danger, and then they scored a runaway intercept try to Payne, converted by Munro to close the deficit to 43-19 heading into the final 10 minutes.
Tries: Leiua 2, Levave, Wilson, Vito, Coles
Cons: Sopoaga 5
Pens: Munro 4
Wellington: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Alipate Leiua, 13 Shaun Treeby, 12 Michael Hobbs, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Frae Wilson, 8 Faifili Levave, 7 Dean Brunsdon, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Jeremy Thrush (c), 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Reg Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Jacob Ellison, 18 Scott Fuglistaller, 19 Victor Vito, 20 TJ Perenara, 21 Michael Lealava'a, 22 Charlie Ngatai, 23 Arden David-Perrot
Northland: 15 Lachie Munro 14 Simon Munro, 13 Jared Payne (c), 12 Aaron Bancroft, 11 Bryce Heem, 10 Jack McPhee, 9 Rhyan Caine, 8 Cameron Goodhue, 7 Cameron Eyre, 6 Dan Faleafa, 5 Mark Burman, 4 Bryce Williams, 3 Scott Vessey, 2 Ross Wright, 1 Justin Davies.
Replacements: 16 Tevita Vaipulu, 17 Aterea Davis, 18 Marty Veale, 19 Danny Mason, 20 Wayne Ngaluafe, 21 Ash Moeke, 22 Derek Carpenter, 23 Jamie Corsi