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From the Couch 2018

Phillip Wiggins

August 20 at 10:34 AM



Wellington Lions start campaign with a win

The Wellington Lions have started their Mitre 10 Cup campaign in positive fashion, beating Otago 34-16 at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Lions head coach Chris Gibbes believed the squad might struggle to start well given a fairly disruptive preparation time but there was little sign of that in the opening 10 minutes as impressive wing Wes Goosen crossed twice to give the home side a 14-0 lead.

A Jackson Garden-Bachop penalty had the Lions ahead 17-0 and looking good for a healthy win midway through the half.

However, the Lions then started to struggle at lineout time and give away too many penalties as Otago came back to narrow the magin with two penalties.

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The score stayed at 17-6 until the break before Otago added a third penalty in the second half before Lions wing Malo Tuitama also grabbed a brace of tries to make the game and the competition points safe.

"Twenty five turnovers, 13 penalties - eight of them defensive - that sort of stuff hurts you," Gibbes said. "But the positive thing about that is a lot of them we can eliminate pretty quickly."

There were a number of notable performances from the Lions.While the try scoring wingers would grab a lot of the attention, flanker Du'Plessis Kirifi was awarded three points in the Duane Monkley medal while fellow loose forward Vaea Fifita was also prominent.

Du'Plessis Kirifi
The win also ensured the Lions hold on the Mike Gibson Memorial Trophy which was presented to captain Thomas Waldrom post-match by members of his family.

The Lions now prepare to head to Christchurch for Saturday's match against defending champions Canterbury.


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