The Wellington Lions turned on their best performance to date in the Mitre 10 Cup season to defeat Counties Manukau 53-12 at Navigation Homes Stadium in Pukekohe.
The Lions retained the Jonah Lomu Memorial Trophy, launched last year to commemorate the star winger Lomu who played for both two provinces.
After an even start to the match, the Lions got away to a 13-0 lead with lock Isaia Walker-Leawere and wing Malo Tuitama crossing for unconverted tries, and with Jackson Garden-Bachop adding a penalty.
They blew that out to a 29-0 lead with two quick tries shortly before half-time from Vaea Fifita and Billy Proctor. Garden-Bachop found form with both conversions
Fifita showed his class with a second try early in the second half with James O’Reilly also scoring twice, and Asafo Aumua also adding five points.
Counties Manukau managed a couple of tries, but Wellington were too strong on defence as well as attack, and are looking good to host a semifinal.
Wellington 53 (Isaia Walker-Leawere, Malo Tuitama, Vaea Fifita 2, Billy Proctor, Asofa Aumua, James O’Reilly 2; Jackson Garden-Bachop pen, 5 cons).
Counties Manukau 12 (Dan Hyatt, Tony Pulu tries; Latiume Fosita con)