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Beaten finalists in 2019, the Wellington Lions will be hoping to go one better this year and lift their first overall national title since 2000.

Coach: Leo Crowley

Home ground: Sky Stadium

2019: Second in Premiership (losing finalist)

Talking points

Du’Plessis Kirifi returns as captain of the Lions after leading the side to the final in 2019. At 23-years-old, Kirifi will remain one of the younger captains in the competition but doesn’t lack in experience. The New Plymouth-born loose forward established himself as a regular starter for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby this year and has pushed himself into the frame for higher honours with his strong form in the seven jersey. The biggest talking point in the squad is the return of 54-Test All Blacks wing Julian Savea to the squad. Savea first played for Wellington in 2010 and returns to his roots after spending three seasons playing for Toulon in France.

Player to watch

Alex Fidow’s star has been on the rise for a couple of seasons now but 2020 could be the year where he truly establishes himself as one of top front rowers in the country. The dynamic ball running prop has developed his game with more minutes at Super Rugby level for the Hurricanes and will take a leading role upfront for the Lions this season. With Dane Coles, Asafo Aumua, Fraser Armstrong and Xavier Numia also vying for spots in the front row, the Lions will be spoilt for choice up front.  

Wellington Lions squad

Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Fraser Armstrong, Vince Aso, Asafo Aumua, Ben Aumua-Peseta, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, James Blackwell, Dane Coles, Connor Collins, Caleb Delaney, Alex Fidow, Vaea Fifita, Connor Garden-Bachop, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Wes Goosen, Callum  Harkin, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Mateaki Kafatolu, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Ruben Love, Aidan Morgan, Xavier Numia, James O’Reilly, Pepesana Patafilo, TJ Perenara, Taine Plumtree, Morgan Poi, James Poloniati, Billy Proctor, Trent Renata, Ardie Savea, Julian Savea, Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe, Tyronne Thompson, Kaliopasi Uluilakepa, Peter Umaga-Jensen

Wellington Lions draw

Wellington v Waikato

Saturday 12 September 2.05pm, Sky Stadium, Wellington

Auckland v Wellington

Sunday 20 September 4.35pm, Eden Park

Wellington v Bay of Plenty

Friday 25 September 7.05pm, Sky Stadium, Wellington

Canterbury v Wellington (RS)

Saturday 3 October 7.05pm, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch

Wellington v Otago

Saturday 10 October 4.35pm, Sky Stadium, Wellington

Wellington v North Harbour

Sunday 18 October 4.35pm, Sky Stadium, Wellington

Counties-Manukau v Wellington

Sunday 25 October 2.05pm, Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe

Wellington v Tasman

Saturday 31 October 2.05pm, Porirua Park

Hawke’s Bay v Wellington

Sunday 8 November 2.05pm, McLean Park, Napier

Wellington v Manawatu

Saturday 14 November 7.05pm, Sky Stadium, Wellington

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