Planet Rugby

Lions stay on course

11th October 2009 07:18

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Gear smashes Northland

Hosea Gear: On top form

Welllintgon kept their charge for an Air New Zealand Cup semi-final spot on course with a comfortable 41-7 win over Northland on Sunday.

Wellington's All Blacks were prominent throughout the game with Conrad Smith, Rodney So'oialo and Neemia Tialata all putting in workhorse performances and Hosea Gear grabbing a brace of tries late in the game.

Jared Payne put Northland into a shock lead with an early try, but the Lions turned things round with tries to Tamati Ellison and Ged Robinson and kicks from Daniel Kirkpatrick making it 17-7 at the break.

Payne's try also bore a huge slice of luck after Smith's grubber rebounded clear and invitingly off a Northland shin.

Smith was a villain again moments later, throwing a punch in a ruck as Alby Mathewson touched down.

But Smith did better moments later, sucking in defenders from Jane's well timed pass and setting Ellison away.

Northland though opted to kick the ball away quite a lot, often not very effectively and then compounded that by missing some first up tackles.

But it took time for Wellington to break them down, and it was also fortuitous, with Robinson picking off a stray pass to race away. Kirkpatrick added the extras, and backed that up with a penalty on half-time.

The Lions dominated the second spell with Mathewson, who was a constant menace around the fringes, rewarded with a try on 59 minutes after Kirkpatrick had banged over his second penalty.

It marked the beginning of the end for Northland who were forced to scramble on defence constantly as Wellington mounted constant bombardment of Northland territory.

Gear eventually used his strength to break through and grab his ninth and tenth tries of the season as the Lions broke through the 40-point barrier for the second week in succession.

The scorers:

For Wellington:
Tries: Gear 2, Ellison, Robinson, Mathewson
Cons: Kirkpatrick 3, Fili 2
Pens: Kirkpatrick 2

For Northland:
Try: Payne
Con: Munro

Northland: 15 Jared Payne (c), 14 Simon Munro, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Lachie Munro, 10 David Holwell, 9 Luke Hamilton, 8 Cameron Eyre, 7 Joel McKenty, 6 Roy Griffin, 5 Pat O'Connor, 4 Dan Goodwin, 3 Karl Haitana, 2 Mikaele Tuu'u,1 Matt Wallis.
Replacements: 16 Tim Dow, 17 Ross Wright, 18 Cam Jowitt, 19 Eroni Gadolo, 20 Rhyan Caine, 21 Nick Collins, 22 Troy Woodman.

Wellington: 15 Cory Jane,14 Alapati Leuia, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Tamati Ellison, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Rodney So'oialo, 7 Serge Lilo, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Daniel Ramsay, 4 Jacob Ellison (c), 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements:16 Dane Cole, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Polonga Pedro, 19 Scott Fuglistaller, 20 Ruki Tipuna,21 Fa'atonu Fili, 22 Robert Fruean.

Referee: Glenn Newman

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