The Wellington Lions will celebrate the side's alumni when they take on Northland in their Mitre 10 Cup match at Westpac Stadium on Saturday. Hundreds of players have helped shape the history of the union and here are just a select few from the 1990s and 2000s:
INOKE AFEAKI 1993-2001 LOCK/LOOSE FORWARD 91 MATCHES
Afeaki made his Wellington Lions debut in 1993, going on to feature in the next nine seasons. While he was a specialist lock he could play off the side off the scrum. After leaving New Zealand, where he also represented the Hurricanes, he went on play in Japan and in France where he linked up with Grenoble. Afeaki also represented Tonga.
ROSS FILIPO 2003-2008 LOCK/LOOSE FORWARD 65 MATCHES
Playing out of the Petone club, Filipo was another player who can be equally adept in the second row of in the loose forwards. He made his first class debut for Marlborough before making his Wellington debut in 2003. Filipo, who was selected for the All Blacks in 2007, was drafted for the Crusaders before he ended his Super Rugby career for the Chiefs. He ended his playing career in the northern hemisphere, playing for Bayonne, Wasps and Racing 92.
ALAMA IREMIA 1992-2000 MIDFIELD 65 MATCHES
Iremia made his Wellington debut as a 21-year-old and made his All Blacks debut just two years later. A foundation player at the Hurricanes, he played his last match for the Lions in the 2000 NPC final when Wellington triumphed over Canterbury. He then made the shift to Japan where he ended his playing career. He took up the head coaching job with Auckland in 2018 when they won the Mitre 10 Cup.
CORY JANE 2003-2015 OUTSIDE BACK 65 MATCHES
While his All Black commitments limited his time in the Wellington jersey in the later stages of his career he was still involved in some of the union’s best triumphs, including the 2000 NPC title. A one club Super Rugby player, Jane made 123 appearances for the Hurricanes. After a stint in Japan he returned to the capital and has been the Wellington Lions assistant coach for two seasons.
MARTIN LESLIE 1991-1998 LOOSE FORWARD 74 MATCHES
A son of former Wellington and All Blacks captain Andy, Martin Leslie was a rugged openside flanker who also represented the Hurricanes. After playing the last of his 74 matches for Wellington in 1998, Leslie moved to Scotland to take up a contract with Edinburgh. He then established himself in the Scotland national side. His brother John also played for Scotland after leaving New Zealand.