Wellington win Jonah Lomu Memorial Trophy

Date published: September 9 2016

A last-ditch long-range penalty from Jackson Garden-Bachop saw Wellington beat Counties Manukau 28-27 in the Mitre 10 Cup on Friday.

The Lions' try scorers were hooker Leni Apisai (2) and Garden-Bachop, who added 13 points off the tee including that impressive late kick.

Two tries from Luteru Laulala and one from Kalolo Tuiloma were backed up by the boot of Piers Francis in a losing cause for the Steelers.

Wellington got onto the board first in Pukekohe when Apisai scored in the 11th minute, with fly-half Garden-Bachop missing the conversion.

The Steelers struck back through a penalty goal from Francis three minutes later but Garden-Bachop soon responded to make it 8-3.

Despite little ball early on, Counties did well to hit the front after 30 minutes when full-back Laulala finished off on the left wing to make it 8-10.

The lead continued to change hands before the break after Garden-Bachop slotted three points, Laulala was over again for an 11-17 lead.

After the turnaround Counties Manukau fly-half Francis extended the margin to nine points via a penalty but when hooker Apisai opened the try scoring, again off the back of a driving maul for the Lions, the game was back in the balance at 18-20 with plenty of time remaining.

Wellington simply could not be shaken off despite Counties' best efforts, with prop Tuiloma's powerful finish soon being chalked off by Garden-Bachop finding a gap near to the uprights. That meant it was 25-27 in favour of the home side with just 12 minutes left on the clock.

Then with time up, Wellington edged from their own 22 just into opposition territory before a penalty for offside was awarded by referee Glen Jackson. Up stepped Garden-Bachop with a wonderful strike to snatch the victory with the last kick as the Lions claim a crucial win.

The scorers:

For Counties Manukau:
Tries: Laulala 2, Tuiloma
Cons: Francis 3
Pens: Francis 2

For Wellington:
Tries: Apisai 2, Garden-Bachop
Cons: Garden-Bachop 2
Pens: Garden-Bachop 3

Counties Manukau: 15 Luteru Laulala, 14 Sione Molia, 13 Sam Vaka, 12 Cardiff Vaega, 11 Sherwin Stowers, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu (cc), 8 Sootala Fa’aso’o, 7 Jordan Taufua, 6 Jimmy Tupou (cc), 5 Viliame Rarasea, 4 Matiaha Martin, 3 Kalolo Tuiloma, 2 Suliasi Taufalele, 1 Sean Bagshaw
Replacements: 16 Gafatasi Su’a, 17 Sione Faletau, 18 Jarred Adams, 19 Matt Va’ai, 20 Viliami Taulani, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Joe Reynolds, 23 Sione Fifita

Wellington: 15 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 14 Joe Hill, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Tomasi Palu, 8 Hoani Matenga, 7 Brad Shields (c), 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 3 Chris Baumann, 2 Leni Apisai, 1 Vince Sakaria
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 Joe Apikotoa, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Greg Foe, 21 Sherdian Rangihuna, 22 TJ Va'a, 23 Mike Lealava'a

Referee: Glen Jackson