Wellington's ITM Cup season went from bad to worse on Friday as they fell to a dismal 27-21 defeat to Manawatu at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington's season went from bad to worse on Friday as they fell to a 27-21 loss to Manawatu at Westpac Stadium.
This was the Premiership outfit's third straight defeat as despite having Jeremy Thrush and TJ Perenara back from international duty, they still couldn't manage to turn their campaign around.
It was a tied ball game at 6-6 going into the break after two penalties apiece from Jason Woodward and the impressive Otere Black, but Wellington went in wondering how they didn't convert at least one of three gilt-edged try-scoring opportunities.
Black opened the try account for the Turbos on 50 minutes and added the extras and a penalty to make it 16-9, as the visiting side took control.
Replacement scrum-half Jamie Booth then added Manawatu's second on the hour mark but when Woodward hit back for the Lions to make it 14-21, it seemed a comeback was likely.
Tolu Fahamokioa then set up a grandstand finish with his try on 73 minutes. However, the boot of Black ultimately kept the Lions at bay and sealed the Turbos a memorable victory.
Try: Woodward, Fahamokioa
Pen: Woodward 3
Tries: Black, Booth
Pen: Black 5
Wellington: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Ambrose Curtis, 13 Ope Peleseuma, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Andrew Wells, 10 Chase Tiatia, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brad Shields (c), 7 Adam Hill, 6 Mark Reddish, 5 Christian Lloyd, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Taniela Koroi, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Tolu Fahamokioa.
Replacements: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Eric Sione, 18 Vaea Fifita, 19 Henry Stowers, 20 Sheridan Rangihuna, 21 Tu Umaga-Marshall, 22 Tau Mamea.
Manawatu: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Newton Tudreu, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Hamish Northcott, 11 Nathan Tudreu, 10 Otere Black, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 James Oliver, 7 Callum Gibbins (c), 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Nick Crosswell, 4 Keepa Mewett, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Rob Foreman, 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16 Nick Grogan, 17 Hubert Buydens, 18 Fraser Stone, 19 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 20 Jamie Booth, 21 Jade Te Rure, 22 Jaxon Tagavaitau.
Referee: Richard Kelly