Planet Rugby

Preview: Wellington v Auckland

04th October 2013 13:30

Share:

Alapati Leiua for Wellington

Back from injury: Alapati Leiua

Wellington welcome Cory Jane, Alapati Leiua, and Api Naikatini from injury for Saturday's top-of-the-table clash with Auckland at Westpac Stadium.

Leiua and Naikatini will start the match, while Cory Jane is set to make an appearance off the bench.

Lions coach Chris Boyd said the team was focused on bringing a greater level of consistency to what they know will be a physical encounter.

"Auckland's probably the most physical team in the competition, so we're expecting a high level of physicality and we'll have to work hard to combat that," he explained.

"We've got three players who have had long-term injuries all coming back at the same time which we're pleased about.

"In saying that, I'm very happy with the guys who have shouldered the workload in the meantime, they've done a great job."

Tim Bateman is also back in the starting line-up after a spell last week, while John Schwalger rotates in for Reggie Goodes. Adam Hill also slots back into the 22 this week.

The Lions have not beaten Auckland since 2009, and are determined to put an end to that record.

Meanwhile, Auckland boss Wayne Pivac has made just one change to his starting XV this encounter.

As he has done throughout the season, Pivac has rotated his props and brought loosehead Pauliasi Manu into the run-on team in place of Sam Prattley who shifts to the bench.

While Pivac was thrilled with last week's victory over Canterbury, he said the team had moved on and were fully focussed on putting together another strong performance against Wellington.

"We always knew we had three big games to finish with Canterbury, Wellington and Otago but certainly the two big ones in the Premiership, so it's half the job done really and that's been our focus for the week making sure we can back that performance up from last week," he said.

Pivac believed Wellington would pose a much sterner challenge than Canterbury and said his side needed to switch on defensively to have any chance of overcoming the undefeated Lions.

"Canterbury have been playing the same way as Canterbury and Crusaders teams have for quite a while so we knew what we were going to be up against," he added.

"Wellington are slightly different in that they move the ball wide a bit like Canterbury but they also like to rumble away with their forwards too so we're going to have to be on our guard in terms of our defence and how we approach that."

The teams:

Wellington: 15 Charlie Ngatai, 14 Joe Hill, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Tomasi Palu, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Api Naikatini, 4 Mark Reddish, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Reggie Goodes, 17 Eric Sione, 18 Genesis Mamea, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Adam Hill, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Cory Jane.

Auckland: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Tenina Sauileoge, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Hadleigh Parkes (c), 11 George Moala, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Wayne Ngaluafe, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Sean Polwart, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 So'otala Fa'aso'o, 19 Sean Brookman, 20 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 21 Junior Poluleuligaga, 22 Melani Nanai.

Date: Saturday, October 5
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Jonathon White
Assistant referees: Hamish Mexted and Chris Graham

  • ITM Cup Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay vs WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Preview
Thursday , October 2
Auckland vs Waikato19:35
Friday , October 3
Northland vs North Harbour19:35
Saturday , October 4
Southland vs Counties Manukau14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs Otago17:35
Canterbury vs Tasman19:35
Sunday , October 5
Manawatu vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Wednesday, October 8
Counties Manukau vs Auckland19:35
Thursday , October 9
Waikato vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Friday , October 10
Otago vs Manawatu19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
  • ITM Cup Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , September 28
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
Saturday , September 27
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Friday , September 26
Taranaki 35 - 22 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Thursday , September 25
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 30 Northland
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour 29 - 24 CanterburyNorth Harbour vs Canterbury Report
Sunday , September 21
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
  • ITM Cup Table
Premiership 2014
ITM Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Taranaki832
2Tasman832
3Canterbury830
4Auckland720
5Waikato816