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Lions Named to Take on Tasman in Mid-Week Shield Defence


The Wellington Lions have reached the midway point of Storm Week, with their second of three games in eight days tomorrow night at Sky Stadium, against Tasman. It is the second time in five days the Lions put the Ranfurly Shield on the line, after a successful defence against Southland in the Hutt on Saturday.


Head Coach Tamati Ellison welcomes back some key players who were rested on Saturday, including the likes of Brad Shields and Peter Umaga-Jensen. Notably, lock Dominic Bird also returns from injury, and will play his first game of the 2023 season.


“We were able to give some players a rest over the weekend, whether that was the day off, or limited minutes off the bench. Tasman will be a step up from Southland and we are ready for what they will throw at us,” said Ellison.


The more familiar front row of Xavier Numia, james O’Reilly and Siale Lauaki return to the starting fold, Numia coming off the bench on the weekend and Lauaki rested.


Dominic Bird returns and will bring some size and experience to the tight five, he partners Caleb Delany in the second row.


Brad Shields returns to the team and will start on the blindside. Peter Lakai regains his number 8 jersey after a stint off the bench, and Du’Plessis Kirifi again captain’s the side from the openside.


Kemara Hauiti-Parapara and Aidan Morgan reunite in the halves. Ruben Love moves back to fullback after a run in the number 10 jersey on Saturday, while Kyle Preston makes way for Hauiti-Parapara.


In the midfield, the experienced and explosive duo of Peter Umaga-Jensen and Billy Proctor have gone from strength to strength in the opening couple of weeks.


Pepesana Patafilo and Losi Filipo line up on the wings, with Love returning to the back.


On the bench, Josh Southall, Cameron Orr and PJ Sheck cover the front row. Hugo Plummer, who has been impressive in the opening three rounds will provide spark off the bench this week, as will the rapidly improving Dominic Ropeti. Kyle Preston, Riley Higgins, and Tjay Clarke all started against Southland and will back up, providing cover across the backline.


The Lions take on Tasman at Sky Stadium, 7:05pm on Wednesday, putting the Ranfurly Shield on the line for the second time in a week.





Wellington Lions side to take on Tasman:

  1. Xavier Numia
  2. James O’Reilly
  3. Siale Lauaki
  4. Caleb Delany
  5. Dominic Bird
  6. Brad Shields
  7. Du’Plessis Kirifi ©
  8. Peter Lakai
  9. Kemara Hauiti-Parapara
  10. Aidan Morgan
  11. Pepesana Patafilo
  12. Peter Umaga-Jensen
  13. Billy Proctor
  14. Losi Filipo
  15. Ruben Love
  16. Josh Southall
  17. Cameron Orr
  18. PJ Sheck
  19. Hugo Plummer
  20. Dominic Ropeti
  21. Kyle Preston
  22. Riley Higgins
  23. Tjay Clarke


Unavailable for Selection:

Asafo Aumua, Bradley Crichton, Connor Garden-Bachop, TJ Perenara, Julian Savea.