Wellington got their ITM Cup campaign off to a winning start with a 20-11 victory over Tasman in some filthy weather in Wellington.
Dane Coles, Jeremy Thrush and Julian Savea scored the tries, while Tasman's spirited cause was not helped by the sin-binning of captain Chris Jack.
The howling wind saw both sides play it as tight as possible in the first half, with Wellington refusing to kick even when on their own line. They managed to work out one early penalty for Fa'atonu Fili, but were generally penned in their own half.
That gave Tasman ample opportunity to attack and full-back Robbie Malneek got the game's opening score after ten minutes
Some good interplay between lock Jarrod Aberhart, James Marshall put Jack Umaga in a bit of space and he beat Savea, fed the ball inside ball to Malneek and Malneek raced in.
Tasman scrum half Steve Alfeld extended the lead to 8-3 with a penalty, which they held for a while despite constant infringements by Tasman at the ruck, including the yellow-card offence by Jack who killed a ball.
The Lions drove Coles over on the half-hour to tie the scores and then the first real piece of open rugby from the hosts gave them the lead just before the break with Thrush and Tialata finishing off a side-to-side movement. Fili added the extras for a 15-8 half-time lead.
The Lions opened up a little more after the break and soon scored their third, Savea gaining revenge and showing some lovely footwork to stand up Malneek and run 20 metres to score.
Alfeld pulled a penalty back but playing into the wind, Tasman were a long way from any threat to the Wellington lead.
Tries: Coles, Thrush, Savea
Pen: Alfeld 2
Wellington: 15.Apoua Stewart, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Alipate Leiua, 12 Sean Treeby, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Fa'atonu Fili, 9 Ruki Tipuna, 8 Faifili Levave, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Mark Reddish, 5 Daniel Ramsay, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Neemia Tialata (c), 2 Dane Coles, 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16. Ged Robinson, 17. Reg Goodes, 18. Api Naikatini, 19. TJ Ionae, 20. Jared Kahu, 21. Hayden Cripps, 22. Charlie Ngatai.
Tasman: 15 Robbie Malneek, 14 Blair Cook, 13 Kade Poki, 12 Tom Marshall, 11 Afeleki Pelenise, 10 James Marshall, 9 Steve Alfeld, 8 Tasi Luafutu, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Joe Wheeler, 5 Chris Jack (c), 4 Jarrod Aberhart, 3 Fai Mika, 2 Francis Smith, 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Vernon Fredericks, 17 Hamish Cochrane, 18 Glenn Gregory, 19 Shane Christie, 20 Kaide Whiting, 21 Daniel Hawkins, 22 James Kamana.