Lions side to take on North Harbour at Porirua Park
The Wellington Lions will be looking to break their NPC consecutive win record this Sunday, when they take on North Harbour at Porirua Park in their penultimate match of the regular season.
Head Coach Tamati Ellison has named four changes to the starting side that took on Bay of Plenty last week. Inspirational captain Du’Plessis Kirifi, fullback Ruben Love, and left wing Tjay Clarke are back in, while Xavier Numia also returns to the fold after being ruled out against Bay of Plenty.
Numia will partner with Siale Lauaki and James O-Reilly up front. Dominic Bird joins Hugo Plummer in the middle row, while Brad Shields, Kirifi and Peter Lakai complete the back row.
Tawa’s Kemara Hauiti-Parapara is at halfback, coming off his 50th appearance for the Lions last week. He partners Aidan Morgan at No.10, who has scored 94 points in all matches this year.
Morgan is just six points short of becoming the first player to score 100 points in a season for Wellington since Jackson Garden-Bachop scored 116 points in 2019.
Wainuiomata’s Peter Umaga-Jensen is at second-five, with Billy Proctor lining up at centre.
Petone’s Tjay Clarke and Losi Filipo are on the wings, and completing the starting XV is Love at fullback.
The Lions won their last 10 matches in 2022 and have won all their eight games played so far this season, taking them to 18 NPC victories.
Technically, they have won 20 matches on the trot, but two of those games were pre-season Ranfurly Shield challenges.
They are now one victory away from surpassing their 18 straight NPC wins which was achieved in the 1986/87 seasons.
Kick-off for the North Harbour match at Porirua Park this Sunday will be at 2:05pm. The match will be live on Sky Sport from 2pm.
Next weekend, the Lions will return to Sky Stadium next Saturday, September 30, for their final NPC match of the regular season.
Lions side to take on North Harbour:
- Xavier Numia – Oriental-Rongotai
- James O’Reilly – Hutt Old Boys’ Marist
- Siale Lauaki – Tawa
- Dominic Bird – Upper Hutt Rams
- Hugo Plummer – Tawa
- Brad Shields – Petone
- Du’Plessis Kirifi – Northern United (Captain)
- Peter Lakai – Petone
- Kemara Hauiti-Parapara – Tawa
- Aidan Morgan – Marist St Pats
- Tjay Clarke – Petone
- Peter Umaga-Jensen – Wainuiomata
- Billy Proctor – Marist St Pats
- Losi Filipo – Petone
- Ruben Love – Wainuiomata
- Penieli Poasa – Oriental-Rongotai
- Cameron Orr – Western Suburbs
- PJ Sheck – Tawa
- Caleb Delany – Old Boys University
- Dominic Ropeti – Oriental-Rongotai
- Kyle Preston – Old Boys University
- Riley Higgins – Petone
- Connor Garden-Bachop – Northern United