The Wellington Lions have made just two changes to last week’s starting XV as they continue preparations for a Sky Stadium clash with Otago on Saturday.
Whilst the Lions will be looking to bounce back from a 31 – 26 loss to Canterbury in extended time, Otago is also hunting redemption after losing the Ranfurly Shield to Hawke’s Bay.
Head coach, Leo Crowley, says the team is preparing for an incredibly tough fixture.
“We were disappointed after last week definitely. Not with the intent as we felt we really challenged them, but our execution let us down.
“We know Otago will want to redeem themselves, but we are hurting as well so we definitely concentrating on our own game.”
Of the two changes made, Taine Plumtree gets his first Mitre 10 Cup start and Trent Renata comes back into the fold as fullback.
Crowley says the week’s preparation has gone well and the team is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd.
“Competition amongst the squad for positions is really strong and Saturday presents an opportunity for a few more players. So, it’s an exciting game ahead for the team.”
Two changes have been made to the bench since last weekend, with Kaliopasi Uluilakepa and Aidan Morgan included in the game day 23.
Adding incentive to win, is the Mike Gibson Memorial Trophy which will go on the line.
The Lions are current holders, and Crowley says the team is keen to keep it that way.
“It’s a big weekend for rugby in Wellington and we definitely intend to play our part.”
Kick-off on Saturday is 4:35pm.
The Wellington Lions team to face Otago is:
1 Xavier Numia
2 James O’Reilly
3 Alex Fidow
4 James Blackwell
5 Taine Plumtree
6 Vaea Fifita
7 Du’Plessis Kirifi [C]
8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas
9 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara
10 Jackson Garden-Bachop
11 Julian Savea
12 Peter Umaga-Jensen
13 Billy Proctor
14 Wes Goosen
15 Trent Renata
16 Tyrone Thompson
17 Ben Aumua-Peseta
18 Kaliopasi Uluilakepa
19 Caleb Delany
20 Mateaki Kafatolu
21 Connor Collins
22 Aidan Morgan
23 Pepesana Patafilo