Lions park The Bus on the bench
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Wellington Lions will test their reserve strength in their first pre-season outing.
Du’Plessis Kirifi will captain a star-studded Wellington side set to take on Manawatu this weekend in Levin.
With just eight days until the NPC kicks off, it’s the only pre-season clash scheduled before officially launching into the 2020 campaign on Saturday, September 12.
Coach Leo Crowley said this game is all about finding the baseline from which his side can build on.
“The first week has gone well,” Crowley said.
“Our Boys are energised and excited for what lays ahead and we know everything won’t be perfect, but our intent will be.
“Plenty to play for with the Waikato game the goal.”
The Wellington Lions officially came together for the first time on Monday but have been missing a few key bodies due to North versus South, injury and those who are still resting up following Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Despite that, nine players included in this 27-man squad have been contracted to Super Rugby franchises this year.
Crowley says he’s looking forward to seeing how they work alongside some of the younger talent.
“Mixing the nine first year boys with the seasoned professional group has gone smoothly.
“The attitude and willingness of the senior group to support everyone in the squad has been very inspiring.”
Wellington Lions: 15 Trent Renata, 14 Connor Garden-Bachop, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Pepesana Patafilo, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Connor Collins, 8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi (captain), 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 4 Taine Plumtree, 3 Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe, 2 Tyrone Thompson, 1 Kaliopasi Uluilakepa.
Replacements: 16 Bruce Kauika-Petersen, 17 Gerard Faitotoa, 18 Luke Chisholm, 19 Josh To’omaga, 20 Caleb Delany, 21 Shamus Hurley-Langton, 22 Mateaki Kafatolu, 23 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, 24 Aidan Morgan, 25 Julian Savea, 26 Callum Harkin, 27 Ruben Love.
Date: Saturday, September 5
Venue: Levin Domain