Rugby: Study on the cards for Wellington

By Daniel Richardson

Shaun Treeby. Photo / Getty Images.
Shaun Treeby. Photo / Getty Images.

As Wellington build up for the biggest test of their ITM Cup campaign more time will be spent in the classroom than on the training pitch.

The Chris Boyd-coached Lions have won three from three after they easily accounted for Southland 40-8 in Wellington today. But bigger things await, with defending champions Canterbury next on the menu on Saturday afternoon.

Wellington played their first three games in 10 days, knocking over Manawatu and Hawkes Bay before beating Southland to get their season off to a great start.

But with such a busy opening stanza, Boyd has some weary bodies in his ranks.

"I think there's no doubt all teams suffer from the fact that when you play three games inside 10 days ... that you get a collective fatigue recurring," Boyd said.

"So despite the fact we've got nearly a full week this week it'll still be a very light week.

We'll spend a chunk of time giving closure to the Southland game tomorrow and doing some recovery then Tuesday we'll start looking forward towards Canterbury.

"I think a lot of that will be around devising a game plan rather than thrashing the guys into the ground."

Wellington's victory over Southland was another inconsistent performance as they showed dashes of individual brilliance - namely from young loose forward Ardie Savea and wing Alapati Leiua who each scored two tries - but their discipline let them down.

They gave away plenty of penalties and went flat in the opening 15 minutes of the second half before they were kicked into life by Savea who scored his second try before Leiua's dazzling individual effort extended the lead and replacement hooker Dane Coles capped the rout late in the piece.

Playing Canterbury in Christchurch is always a tough ask and Boyd said his side needed an 80-minute performance.

"We are pleased to have won our first three games but I think we'd all agree that the three games we've played, we'd have to produce a better effort than those three to get a result against Canterbury.

"... They're clearly, in my mind, one of two sides that are near the top of the tree. So it'll be a good contest, the boys will be looking forward to going down there and giving it a rumble."

Southland have dropped their opening two games after losing 30-9 to Counties Manukau last weekend.

Wellington 40 (Alaptai Leiua 2, Ardie Savea 2, Dane Coles tries; Jason Woodward 3 pen, 3 con) Southland 8 (Cardiff Vaega try; Marty McKenzie pen) HT: 23-3

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