In only his second ITM Cup game Ardie Savea delivered a glimpse of what he can produce in the future.
The younger brother of All Blacks wing Julian Savea grabbed two tries as he helped Wellington beat Southland 40-8 in the capital this evening.
Ardie Savea may only be 18 and one year out of Rongotai College, but he showed plenty of maturity in his performance in front of 5692 people at Westpac Stadium.
Aside from his brace of five-pointers he was also dangerous with ball in hand at openside flanker and made one impressive linebreak in the first spell. He also showed his versatility given he played the opening game of the campaign at No 8.
Having started slowly in their first two games of the season against Manawatu and Hawkes Bay, the Lions opened up today's clash with plenty of enthusiasm and were on the board in the first five minutes through a penalty from Jason Woodward.
The fullback booted another three points a few minutes later before Southland's Marty McKenzie opened his side's account, but with the score 6-3 in favour of the Lions, Wellington took over the game.
Man of the match Alapati Leiua scored the first of his two tries in the 15th minute when he charged down a Jimmy Cowan kick and picked up the scraps.
Savea then got his first for the day shortly after and Woodward's right foot kept the scoreboard ticking over for the home side who went in to the split with a healthy 23-3 lead.
The second spell started slowly as both teams failed to string phases together before Savea and Leiua set the game alight again.
Savea finished off a decent spell on attack from Wellington as he grabbed the ball from the base of a ruck and skipped through a couple of tackles to score under the posts.
After Leiua was put in to a narrow corridor of space by Woodward he put a grubber kick through and beat the cover defence to the ball as he got the bounce and flew over to score again.
Substitute hooker Dane Coles also crossed late in proceedings as Southland slumped to their second consecutive loss of the competition, having been beaten 30-9 by Counties last weekend.
Wellington's win made it three from three this season.
Wellington 40 (Ardie Savea 2, Alaptai Leiua 2, Dane Coles tries; Jason Woodward 3 pen, 3 con) Southland 8 (Cardiff Vaega try; Marty McKenzie pen) HT: 23-3