ITM Cup leaders Wellington outscored Canterbury three tries to one to win 25-19 in Saturday's heavyweight clash at the Cake Tin.
ITM Cup leaders Wellington outscored defending champions Canterbury three tries to one to win 25-19 in Saturday's heavyweight clash at Westpac Stadium.
The result sees the Lions move four points clear of second-placed Auckland at the summit of the ITM Cup standings thanks to their seventh consecutive victory.
Despite poor conditions at the Cake Tin, the match lived up to it's billing as a clash of the two best sides in the competition.
To add injury to insult, Canterbury lost both Tyler Bleyendaal and Colin Slade during the course of the 80 minutes.
Canterbury led 16-15 at the interval but a strong second half from the home side secured a deserved win.
Wellington had dominated the first half as tries to wing Joe Hill and flanker Ardie Savea gave the hosts a handy 15-9 lead when the hooter sounded but in typical fashion the patient Cantabrians struck back with big prop Joe Moody rumbling over and Bleyendaal's sideline conversion putting the visitors back in front.
Savea was yellow carded early in the second half but it was nevertheless Wellington who struck first after the break with scrum-half Tomasi Palu scoring a key try.
Wellington right wing Adam Hill was red carded for stomping as the game went down to the wire.
Both Jordan Taufua and Patrick Osborne coming close to securing an heroic comeback for Canterbury but were held up in goal.
Tries: J.Hill, Savea, Palu
Cons: Sopoaga 2
Pens: Sopoaga 2
Yellow card: Savea
Red card: A. Hill
Pens: Bleyendaal 4
Wellington: 15 Charlie Ngatai, 14 Ambrose Curtis, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Joe Hill, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Tomasi Palu, 8 Victor Vito (capt), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Kaipati Gaualofa, 4 Mark Reddish, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Reg Goodes, 17 Eric Sione, 18 Genesis Mamea, 19 Adam Hill, 20 Kayne Hammington, 21 Tau Mamea, 22 Afa Fa'atau.
Canterbury: 15 Colin Slade, 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (capt), 5 Matt Symons, 4 Luke Katene, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Paea Faanunu, 18 Joel Everson, 19 Jordan Taufua, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Rob Thompson, 22 Milford Keresoma.
Venue: Westpac Stadium
Referee: Nick Briant