A poor first half contributed significantly to the Wellington Lions second loss of the Mitre 10 Cup season as they were defeated 43-31 by Waikato in Hamilton on Wednesday night.
Five days after their convincing win over Southland, the Lions struggled to cope with the attacking pressue that Waikato brought as they went out to a convincing 19-0 at the break.
While there was no shortage of effort from the Lions players they lacked accuracy and discipline at key times in the opening 40 minutes as Waikato took their chances while Wellington struggled to convert opportunities.
The Lions coaching staff reacted at halftime by making four changes but they again struggled to maintain periods of pressure while Waikato were ruthless when they got into positions where they could score.
To their credit the Lions kept going and while it seemed like they would leave FMG Stadium with nothing they fought hard to earn a bonus point try as they kept playing to the end.
However, some key moments of inaccuracy again hurt them as they let the chance to take two bonus points home slip by as Waikato deservedly took five points out of the cross-over match.
The Lions now have to regroup as they prepare to face North Harbour at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Waikato 43 (Sevu Reece 3, Jordan Manihera, Raniera Takarangi, Samisoni Taukei'aho tries; Fletcher Smith 5 con, pen) Wellington 31 (Trent Renata, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Matt Proctor, Losi Filipo, Malo Tuitama tries; Pakai Turia con, Jackson Garden-Bachop 2 con). HT: 19-0