Settled Lions squad named to face Northland

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Wellington Lions head coach Chris Gibbes has named a settled squad to meet Northland in their Mitre 10 Cup cross-over match at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

While there are four changes to the starting XV which convincingly beat Auckland 34-15 last Sunday, the vast majority of the 23-man squad remains the same.

Up front, experienced tighthead prop Sef Fa'agase get his first start of the season, while young lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi gets his second with the well performed Josh Furno moving to the bench.

In the loose forwards, Teariki Ben-Nicholas returns at No 8 with Vaea Fifita moving to the side of the scrum.

The backline remains almost the same, the exception being at second five-eighth where Thomas Umaga-Jensen replaces twin brother Peter.

Gibbes believed Saturday's match was a good opportunity for the players coming in to impress as they head to the back end of the season.

"We have got a lot of genuine competition for places in the squad and it's a good position to be at this stage of the season," he said.

"We have to keep our standards up and we will need to be really good again because we are expecting Northland to throw everything at us."

Saturday which will celebrate 30 years of women's rugby in Wellington with the Pride playing the earlier match. The Lions alumni will also be recognised.

Kick-off is 5.05pm.

The Wellington Lions squad to meet Northland is:

15 Billy Proctor (Marist St Pats)
14 Wes Goosen (Old Boys University)
13 Vince Aso (Paremata-Plimmerton)
12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen (Wainuiomata)
11 Ben Lam (Tawa)
10 Jackson Garden-Bachop (Northern United)
9 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara (Tawa)
8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas (Old Boys University)
7 Du'Plessis Kirifi (Northern United) (c)
6 Vaea Fifita (Wellington)
5 James Blackwell (Petone)
4 Naitoa Ah Kuoi (Marist St Pats)
3 Sef Fa'agase (Johnsonville)
2 Asafo Aumua (Avalon)
1 Xavier Numia (Oriental-Rongotai)


16 James O'Reilly (Hutt Old Boys Marist)
17 Sitiveni Paongo (Tawa)
18 Kaliopasi Uluilakepa (Petone)
19 Josh Furno (Western Suburbs)
20 Mateaki Kafatolu (Petone)
21 Campbell Woodmass (Northern United)
22 Trent Renata (Oriental-Rongotai)
23 Pepesana Patafilo (Tawa)