Wellington ensured they will play their ITM Cup Premiership semifinal at home next week after they knocked over Taranaki 33-17 in the capital this afternoon.

Coming in to the fixture both sides had a mathematical chance of claiming home advantage for the semis but it was the Lions who produced the more polished performance in the bonus-point win.

Their forwards were dominant, while first-five Tim Bateman led the backline well as Wellington cantered to their eighth win of the season. The loss meant Taranaki finished the regular season in fourth and will be on the road next week.

Wellington coach Chris Boyd had a mini front-row crisis on his hands as he lost two tightheads props before the game had even kicked off.


Giant No 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen was a late scratching with a calf ailment, while his replacement Arden David-Perrot was also struck down with a calf problem in the warm-up.

Eric Sione was promptly installed to start the game, while Whetu Henry was plucked from promotional duties to wear the No 17 jersey and sit on the bench.

Wellington loosehead prop Reggie Goodes - who started the game injury free - had a hand in the Lions' first try when his useful offload drew two defenders and Tim Bateman trotted around close to the posts to score.

Melbourne Rebels-bound wing Jason Woodward added the extras after he had earlier kicked a penalty to open the scoring and Wellington began to stamp their mark on the contest.

Lions flanker Scott Fuglistaller, who has also linked with the Rebels for next year's Super Rugby campaign, then crossed just after the half-hour mark and when Woodward booted the easy conversion the home side established a 17-0 lead.

In the second spell, Woodward's work off the tee increased Wellington's lead before he crossed for his fourth try of the season after he ran on to a clever kick from hooker Dane Coles who produced another consistent performance.

Woodward again found his way to the line to collect his second of the day and it took Taranaki until the 59th minute before they even got on the board when big lock Jason Eaton crashed over in the corner.

All Black pivot Beauden Barrett failed to add the extras and the 21-year-old looked rusty having mostly being used as a training partner by the national side during the past month.


As Wellington's intensity faded Taranaki grabbed late tries through James Broadhurst and James Marshall.

Veteran referee Bryce Lawrence also received a special mention before kick-off as today's encounter marked his 200th first-class game on the whistle.

Wellington 33 (Jason Woodward 2, Tim Bateman, Scott Fuglistaller tries; Woodward 3 pen, 2 con) Taranaki 17 (Jason Eaton, James Broadhurst, James Marshall tries; Beauden Barrett con) HT: 17-0

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