Lions side to take on Hawke's Bay at Sky Stadium
Lions look to end regular season on a high
With one round remaining and the top spot of the 2023 Bunnings Warehouse NPC table now locked in, the Wellington Lions will be looking to end the regular season on a high when they take on Hawke’s Bay this Saturday at Sky Stadium.
Head Coach Tamati Ellison has made three changes to the starting side that took on North Harbour in Porirua last Sunday, while former All Black Julian Savea has been named to come off the bench after a lengthy injury stint on the sideline.
Xavier Numia, Siale Lauaki and James O-Reilly make up the front row. Old Boys University’s Caleb Delany comes in for Hugo Plummer and will partner Dominic Bird in the second row; while Brad Shields, Du’Plessis Kirifi (captain) and Peter Lakai once again complete the back row.
Halfback Kemara Hauiti-Parapara and Marist St Pats no.10 Aidan Morgan make up the halves. Petone’s Riley Higgins comes in for Peter Umaga-Jensen at 12, while Marist St Pats Billy Proctor continues at centre.
Northern United’s Connor Garden-Bachop replaces Tjay Clarke on the left wing, while Losi Filipo (right wing) and Ruben Love (fullback), complete the starting lineup.
The Lions have had an impressive season, thus far conceding the fewest tries in the competition (19) and the least number of points (128). On top of that, in their nine matches played, the Lions have only been behind on the scoreboard for a total of 16 minutes.
Last week’s win against North Harbour took the Lions to 19 on the trot, breaking their previous NPC successive victory record of 18.
This Saturday’s match doubles as a Ranfurly Shield challenge, with the Magpies surely out for revenge after the Lions took the Ranfurly Shield off them last season.
Kick-off for the Hawke’s Bay match at Sky Stadium this Saturday will be at 2:05pm. The match will be live on Sky Sport from 2pm.
Lions side to take on Hawke’s Bay:
- Xavier Numia – Oriental-Rongotai
- James O’Reilly – Hutt Old Boys’ Marist
- Siale Lauaki – Tawa
- Dominic Bird – Upper Hutt Rams
- Caleb Delany – Old Boys University
- Brad Shields – Petone
- Du’Plessis Kirifi – Northern United (Captain)
- Peter Lakai – Petone
- Kemara Hauiti-Parapara – Tawa
- Aidan Morgan – Marist St Pats
- Connor Garden-Bachop – Northern United
- Riley Higgins – Petone
- Billy Proctor – Marist St Pats
- Losi Filipo – Petone
- Ruben Love – Wainuiomata
- Penieli Poasa – Oriental-Rongotai
- Cameron Orr – Western Suburbs
- PJ Sheck – Tawa
- Hugo Plummer – Tawa
- Dominic Ropeti – Oriental-Rongotai
- Kyle Preston – Old Boys University
- Peter Umaga-Jensen – Wainuiomata
- Julian Savea – Oriental-Rongotai