Wellington Lions named to face North Harbour

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The Wellington Lions will be chasing their seventh straight win when they head to Albany for Friday night's Mitre 10 Cup Premiership match against North Harbour.

A victory over North Harbour would secure the Lions a home semifinal with a week to go in the round robin stage of the competition.

With plenty at stake, Wellington Lions head coach Chris Gibbes has returned several players to the starting line-up who either came off the bench or missed last Saturday's 57-36 win over Northland at Westpac Stadium.

Three of the changes come up front where tighthead prop Alex Fidow returns along with lock Josh Furno and blindside flanker Mateaki Kafatolu.

Kafatolu's promotion sees Vaea Fifita move back to No 8 where he started in the win over Otago with Teariki Ben-Nicholas moving to the bench.

The backline stays largely the same, the exceptions being in the midfield where Peter Umaga-Jensen replaces twin brother Thomas, while wing Pepasana Patafilo replaces Ben Lam who is not available.

Gibbes believed the squad had come through the Northland match well and was preparing for another real challenge in what has become one of the most even competitions in recent years.

"We are growing as a group every week and this match pesents another big challenge against North Harbour and it one the squad is really looking forward to," he said.

Kick-off is 7.35pm.

The Wellington Lions squad to meet North Harbour is:

15 Billy Proctor (Marist St Pats)
14 Wes Goosen (Old Boys University)
13 Vince Aso (Paremata-Plimmerton)
12 Peter Umaga-Jensen (Wainuiomata)
11 Pepesana Patafilo (Tawa)
10 Jackson Garden-Bachop (Northern United)
9 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara (Tawa)
8 Vaea Fifita (Wellington)
7 Du'Plessis Kirifi (Northern United) (c)
6 Mateaki Kafatolu (Petone)
5 James Blackwell (Petone)
4 Josh Furno (Western Suburbs)
3 Alex Fidow (Oriental Rongotai)
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 Naitoa Ah Kuoi (Marist St Pats)
20 Teariki Ben Nicholas (Old Boys University)
21 Campbell Woodmass (Northern United)
22 Trent Renata (Oriental-Rongotai)
23 Thomas Umaga-Jensen (Wainuiomata)