Manawatu shock Wellington in the capital
The Turbos have got their season back on track with a 27-21 win at Westpac Stadium tonight, recording their second win in three games, while Wellington, the 2013 Premiership finalists, are without a victory so far this campaign.
It was simple stuff by Manawatu in the end, who clearly grew as the match progressed, with young playmaker Otere Black impressing with a 22-point haul.
Where is New Zealand finding all of these first five-eighths?
Wellington are close to crisis after this one, their second straight loss against an ITM Cup Championship side means that the Lions will finish the third round on the bottom of the Premiership table.
Their only consolation is that they earned their first competition point of the season by finishing within seven points of the Turbos.
The victory, Manawatu’s first win over Wellington since August 2011, will keep Jason O’Halloran happy and ensure the Turbos remain in contention ahead of their clash with Bay of Plenty next round.
The game started with Wellington showing plenty of promise, but as it has been all season so far, early glimpses resulted in little without the proper finishing.
Lions coach Chris Boyd would have cut a frustrated figure as he watched his team run up an early lead only to be overrun.
Penalties to Jason Woodward in the 3rd and 19th minute opened the game’s account, but Manawatu’s Black replied with two penalties of his own in the final ten of the first half.
At halftime the match seemed evenly poised at 6-6.
Wellington came out firing in the second half, but again all of the intent in the world was not going to add points to the Lions register.
Woodward struck over a penalty goal in the 48th minute, but that would be the last time the home side would hold the lead.
Black would score after a great period from Manawatu where their passing game, unlike the hosts, would stick to devastating effect, with the forwards getting involved as the tourists took the lead for the first time.
A further penalty to Black followed by a try to Jamie Booth would appear to put the match out of reach.
However Wellington were willing, with Woodward and Tolu Fahamokioa scoring within five minutes of each other to make it a 24-21 ball game to Manawatu with just six minutes remaining.
One final penalty goal to Black however would seal the win for the green and whites.
Wellington’s next match is against Auckland at Eden Park.
Tries: Woodward, Fahamokioa
Pens: Woodward (3)
Tries: Black, Booth
Pens: Black (5)