The Wellington Lions lost their fourth match of a very uneven Mitre 10 Cup rugby season, beaten 43-31 by Waikato in Hamilton last night.
by Luke Jackson
Despite scoring three tries in the final ten minutes, the Lions were not able to regroup from the 19-0 lead Waikato solidified in the first half.
At 29 points behind, with eight minutes left on the clock, many rugby teams would have quietly given up. Wellington instead decided to save their best for last and closed out the match with some of the best set pieces of their season so far.
Captain Matt Proctor led the charge with an unconverted try shortly before wing Malo Tuitama intercepted a pass and raced ahead to score.
One minute later, opposite wing Losi Filipo scored the final try of the match after some last minute slick passing.
Two more converted tries from Wellington, and Waikato would have continued their ten-game losing streak.
Wellington Lions head coach Chris Gibbes faced off against brother Jono, in the same role for Waikato, as he made eight changes from the side which ran out against Southland, continuing to give the entire squad an opportunity to push for selection.
Notably absent were the Lions’ two All Blacks, T.J. Perenara and Ardie Savea, having returned to training duties for the test match on Saturday against the Springboks.
The Lions now regroup as they prepare to face North Harbour at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Fans are allowed to bring their dogs to watch that game with the return of last years ‘Pups at the Park’ event.