The Wellington Lions have continued their perfect start to the Mitre 10 Cup with fourth straight bonus point win, this time over Hawke’s Bay at Westpac Stadium.
The Lions scored six tries including two to rampaging prop Alex Fidow as they put the Magpies to the sword early in the match before cruising to victory.
However, it wasn’t all good for the Lions who conceded four tries to ensure head coach Chris Gibbes will have plenty to say during the short three-day turnaround before his team plays the Tasman Makos in Blenheim on Sunday.
For now though the Lions can be satisfied their Mitre 10 Cup season is on track.
Under first time captain James Blackwell they out-muscled Hawke’s Bay in the opening 20 minutes with some brutal ball-carrying.
Big wing Julian Savea was first to score when he barged over in the corner following some strong build up work from Fidow, hooker Sitiveni Paongo, lock Isaia Walker-Leawere, and No.8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas.
With halfback Sheridan Rangihuna providing swift service to Jackson Garden-Bachop at first five the Lions were making the gain line at will.
Paongo, a late starter after Asafo Aumua withdrew due to a foot infection, got the Lions second try when he changed the angle and dived over to make it 12-3.
By the time Fidow charged through the midfield like a runaway train it looked like a cricket score might be in store at 19-3 before the half hour mark.
However, Wellington took their foot off the pedal and Magpies midfielder Cardiff Vaega scored just before the break to make it 19-8 at halftime.
The Lions came out firing after the break with Fidow grabbing his second and Goosen flying onto a short ball from openside Du’Plessis Kirifi to make it 33-8.
The result was effectively decided, but Hawke’s Bay fought hard to stay in the game and pulled back tries to Jason Long, Sam McNicol and Jorian Tangaere before fulltime to give some respectability to the scoreboard.
Wellington could manage just one more try in the final half hour, to replacement wing Malo Tuitama with eight minutes to play.
Wellington 40 (Alex Fidow 2, Julian Savea, Sitiveni Paongo, Wes Goosen, Malo Tuitama tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 5 con) Hawke's Bay 27 (Cardiff Vaega, Jason Long, Sam McNicol, Jorian Tangaere tries; Tiaan Falcon 2 con, pen). HT: 19-8.