Wellington came back from ten points down to score a hard-fought 17-13 ITM Cup win over Hawke's Bay at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.
In very windy conditions, the Lions scored seventeen unanswered points in the first half to turnover a ten-point deficit at the end of the first quarter.
Tries to Hosea Gear, Tajhon Mailata and Lima Sopoaga canncelled out Kahn Fotuali'i's early try.
Those first-half points proved to be enough but the home side needed to dig deep in the second period to keep the Magpies at bay.
The visitors launched wave after wave of attack in search of just their second win of the season but when unable to cross the try-line a second time and had to settle for a solitary penalty for Richard Buckman, who had slotted a three-pointer and converted Fotuali'i's try in the first 40 minutes.
Hawke's Bay suffered the late withdrawal of fly-half Daniel Kirkpatrick but Fotuali'i's switch to ten from scrum-half didn't appear to have caused too much disruption early on.
Hooker Hika Elliot set up the game's first try with strong run in his own half. The visitors swept across the field with Fotuali'i finishing off.
Buckman, who kicked a fifth-minute penalty, added the conversion but visitors would not score again before half time.
Wellington kicker Sopoaga on the other hand missed two penalties and the conversion in the swirling wind.
Gear scored his 33rd try in Wellington colours with a wonderful solo effort as he stepped around Buckman to race clear.
Ten minutes before the break wing Alipati Leiua burst through a gap in midfield before off -loading to Mailata who crossed under the posts.
Wellington and they finished off the half with their third try, created by Gear and finished by Sopoaga. Charlie Ngatai couldn't add the extras.
With the wind at their backs, Hawke's Bay did nearly all the attacking in the second half but were unable to crack a grimly determined home defence.
Tries: Gear, Mailata, Sopoaga
For Hawke's Bay:
Pens: Buckman 2
Wellington: 15 Apoua Stewart, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Tajhon Mailata, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Ruki Tipuna, 8 Faifili Levave, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Api Naikatini, 5 Nick Passi, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Dane Coles, 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 David Te Moana, 18 Brad Shields, 19 Dean Brunsdon, 20 Frae Wilson, 21 Fa'atonu Fili, 22 Buxton Popoalii.
Hawke's Bay: 15 Gillies Kaka, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Jason Shoemark (c), 12 Ryan McLeod, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Mike Coman, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Michael Johnson, 5 Ross Kennedy, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Hikawera Elliot, 1 Clint Newland.
Replacements: 16 Eugene Smith, 17 Whetu Barber, 18 Leighton Price, 19 Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Star Timu or Sinoti Sinoti, 22 Mark Jackman