Loose forward Galu Taufale will captain the Wellington Lions when they meet Tasman in Saturday night’s Mitre 10 Cup premiership match at Westpac Stadium.
News from WRFU
Taufale takes over the role after squad captain Matt Proctor was ruled out of the match.
“Galu was a natural choice in the eyes of the coaching staff,” Wellington Lions head coach Chris Gibbes said. “He’s been in really good form, he’s played a lot of rugby and is a clear decision maker on the field while he’s also done the job before.”
Gibbes has made five changes to the starting XV which helped the Lions convincingly beat Manawatu 49-7 last round.
Promising young prop Xavier Numia returns to the side along with openside flanker Du’Plessis Kirifi and No 8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas.
In the backs there are also recalls for wing Malo Tuitama and midfielder Billy Proctor while Wes Goosen moves into centre after playing the majority of the Mitre 10 Cup season at fullback.
That means a move for in-form wing Ben Lam to the back, a position Gibbes believed he would have little trouble adapting to.
“Ben is a class player who has shown us all the attributes to be able to play at fullback and make an equally good impression. As I’ve said, we have full faith in the squad we have and the changes we have been making each week is proof of that.”
The two sides are separated by a single point on the premiership table with Tasman in second place.
“We’re excited about getting home again after a couple of weeks away and the squad as a whole is looking forward to the challenge that Tasman will bring.”
Kick-off is 7.35pm.
The Wellington Lions squad to meet Tasman is:
15 Ben Lam (Tawa)
14 Losi Filipo (Petone)
13 Wes Goosen (Old Boys University)
12 Billy Proctor (Marist St Pats)
11 Malo Tuitama (Oriental-Rongotai)
10 Jackson Garden-Bachop (Northern United)
9 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara (Tawa)
8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas (Old Boys University)
7 Du’Plessis Kirifi (Northern United)
6 Galu Taufale (Poneke) (c)
5 Isaia Walker-Leawere (Poneke)
4 James Blackwell (Petone)
3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen (Marist St Pats)
2 Asafo Aumua (Avalon)
1 Xavier Numia (Oriental-Rongotai)
16 James O’Reilly (Hutt Old Boys Marist)
17 Tolu Fahamokioa (Tawa)
18 Joel Hintz (Old Boys University)
19 Will Mangos (Old Boys University)
20 Mateaki Kafatolu (Petone)
21 Carlos Price (Petone)
22 Thomas Umaga-Jensen (Wainuiomata)
23 Trent Renata (Oriental-Rongotai)