30 Aug

Lucky, lucky Wellington
by Zand Moloney
30 Aug 2004

I don’t know what is going on this season. What one gets used to as a Wellington supporter is that the close games always go against you, and that heartbreaking losses, where wins are deserved are the norm.
This season Wellington have played well in patches but have yet to put a true 80 minute performance together. Despite this they lie third on the table with two wins and a draw, and to be honest they probably deserved to lose against Harbour. Taking nothing away from the Lions defensive effort, which for the second week in a row was superb, but if Harbour managed to cross the lie twice when the try line was begging Wellington would have got nothing from this game.
Rodney So’oailo seems to be growing into his leadership role, his decision to go for a try paid off and levelled the scores at 11 all, which was crucial. He also led the pack well, rucks and mauls were much improved, and again hard driving tackles from the loosies and tight five.
The centre combination of Nonu and Smith is working well, Smith particularly looks good with the ball in hand and puts his wingers into space with hard, straight runs. His run to set up Fa’atau was class, the Lions denied by a great tackle by a player who will join them next season Hosea Gear.
Nonu again broke the line well and seems to have recovered last seasons form after a poor Super 12, it will be interesting to see what happens when Tane Tuipulotu is fully recovered. Whoever sits on the bench will be unlucky as they are all class players and this is before Umaga is brought into the equation.
Shannon Paku had one of his best games in a Wellington jersey, composed at the back, and he timed his attacking runs well.
Overall a good game, but there is no doubt Wellington got a ‘get out of jail free’ card this time.Harbour and their fans must be feeling terribly unlucky and I feel for them. It reminds me of many heartbreaking games at Athletic Park, particularily against Auckland.
Wellington must realise their good fortune and plan for next week. There needs to be a step up in intensity next week considering the form of Waikato in thumping a classy Auckland side.
C’mon Wellington, pack the stadium and fire the boys up for a big one!

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