Rugby: Wellington Lions shuffle the deck

By Daniel Richardson

Ross Filipo will start in the No 5 jersey alongside Wellington captain Jeremy Thrush in the second row tomorrow night. File photo / NZPA
Ross Filipo will start in the No 5 jersey alongside Wellington captain Jeremy Thrush in the second row tomorrow night. File photo / NZPA

Two changes to the forward pack and a shuffle in the backline have been made for the Wellington Lions' second match in four days when they take on Bay of Plenty in Mt Manganui tomorrow night.

Solomona Sakalia comes into the front row to face the Steamers, with Eric Sione ruled out due to a concussion suffered in Saturday night's 43-30 loss to Auckland.

Whetu Henry has joined the team in the Bay of Plenty and will be in the reserves for the match.

In the second row, Ross Filipo will start in the No 5 jersey alongside captain Jeremy Thrush, with Mark Reddish moving to the bench.

Lima Sopoaga will make his first start for the Lions this year.

This is one of four changes in the backline which includes a new halfback and first-five combination.

Partnering Sopoaga at halfback is Kayne Hammington, who also makes his first start of the season.

Tim Bateman moves to centre and Charlie Ngatai to fullback.

After the match in Mt Maunganui the team returns home to host a crossover match with North Harbour on Saturday.

Wellington: Charlie Ngatai, Alapati Leiua, Tim Bateman, Shaun Treeby, Matt Proctor, Lima Sopoaga, Kayne Hammington, Ardie Savea, Scott Fuglistaller, Lua Lokotui, Ross Filipo, Jeremy Thrush (captain), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Solomona Sakalia. Reserves: Motu Matu'u, Whetu Henry, Mark Reddish, Genesis Mamea, Frae Wilson, Ope Peleseuma, Jason Woodward.

- APNZ

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