Rugby: Savea and Vito return for Wellington

Lions back Julian Savea. Photo / Richard Robinson
Lions back Julian Savea. Photo / Richard Robinson

All Blacks Julian Savea and Victor Vito will make an appearance for Wellington in tomorrow night's ITM Cup encounter against Hawke's Bay at Westpac Stadium in the capital.

Both players have been farmed out by the national squad as there is a bye week in the Rugby Championship and Savea will start on the left wing, while Vito will pack down at No 8.

Wellington opened the national provincial competition with a convincing 30-11 win over Manawatu on Friday night, while Hawke's Bay were beaten 36-29 by Auckland in Napier last Thursday.

It is the second leg of a busy opening stretch for Wellington who also host Southland on Sunday afternoon.

Lions coach Chris Boyd has stuck with largely the same side that beat the Turbos in Palmerston North, although in addition to Savea and Vito coming in, Arden David-Perrot will start at loosehead prop and Lua Lokotui will begin the game at blindside flanker.

Tim Bateman again gets the nod to play at first-five, while hooker Liu Taituave has been bracketed with preferred back-up Motu Matu'u on the bench after the latter tweeted that he was in a moon boot yesterday and the burly rake could be a late scratching from the playing 22.

Wellington: Jason Woodward, Alapati Leiua, Charlie Ngatai, Shaun Treeby, Julian Savea, Tim Bateman, Frae Wilson, Victor Vito, Scott Fuglistaller, Lua Lokotui, Ross Filipo, Jeremy Thrush (captain), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Arden David-Perrot.
Reserves: Motu Matu'u/Liu Taituave, Solomona Sakalia, Whetu Henry, Mark Reddish, Kayne Hammington, Genesis Mamea, Matt Proctor

- APNZ

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