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Lions Make Five Changes as Proctor Reaches 50



After an opening round victory over Manawatū last weekend, the Wellington Lions head south to Forsyth Barr, taking on Otago this Saturday.


Head Coach Tamati Ellison has made five changes to his side, which has been bolstered by the return of key personnel.


James O’Reilly and Peter Lakai return in the forward pack, with prop Siale Lauaki earning a start ahead of PJ Sheck. Riley Higgins and Connor Garden-Bachop also return from injuries and will look to inject themselves off the bench.


“We’ve got some players back online this weekend which is good. We’ll look to ease them back in through the week so they are ready come Saturday” Ellison said.


“Otago are a well coached side, and they will be coming in off a good performance in Round One, adding to that, back in front of their home fans.”


Midfielder Billy Proctor runs out for his 50th match for the Lions this weekend, only a week after Prop Xavier Numia reached the same feat.


“It’s a special milestone, and to achieve such feat after Xavier [Numia] got there last week, adds a bit more feeling to it” said Proctor.


Him and Numia are both products of St Pats Town, having played together in the 1st XV, all the way to most recently, the All Blacks XV.


Two changes to the forward pack, with James O’Reilly returning from injury and Siale Lauaki getting a start, last week’s half-centurion Xavier Numia backs up after an impressive performance.


Caleb Delany and Hugo Plummer are again paired in the second row and are looking to form a strong pairing in the absence of Dominic Bird.


Just the one change to the loose forward trio, New Zealand Under 20’s vice-captain Peter Lakai returns, with Brad Shield and captain Du’Plessis Kirifi on the flanks.


An unchanged backline runs out, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara and Aidan Morgn run the ship from 9 and 10 respectively.


Proctor, in his 50th, runs out alongside Peter Umaga-Jensen again this weekend. The pair denting Manwatū’s defensive line last weekend until it cracked when Umaga-Jensen scored.


The back three also back up an impressive outing, Ruben Love is at the back with Pepesana Patafilo and Losi Filipo on each wing.


Josh Southall drops to the bench with O’Reilly returning, as does PJ Sheck. Cameron Orr was strong in his debut last weekend and returns for another week. Akira Ieremia and Dominic Ropeti bring some size off the bench in the second row.


Kyle Preston the only back reserve surviving from last week, as both Riley Higgins and Connor Garden-Bachop return from injuries.


The Lions take on Otago this Saturday afternoon in Dunedin. Kick off is 4:35pm and the match is live on Sky Sport.



Wellington Lions team to take on Otago:

  1. Xavier Numia
  2. James O’Reilly
  3. Siale Lauaki
  4. Caleb Delany
  5. Hugo Plummer
  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. Akira Ieremia
  20. Dominic Ropeti
  21. Kyle Preston
  22. Riley Higgins
  23. Connor Garden-Bachop


*50th match


Unavailable for selection: Ha’amea Ahio, Dominic Bird, Bradley Crichton, TJ Perenara, Julian Savea