Wellington are one win away from returning to the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership, and it would be nothing less than they deserve.

Dominant all season, Wellington were initially shaky but then overwhelming in their 49-21 semifinal victory over Northland.

Relegated to the Championship in 2014, Wellington have laboured through a string of uneven, uninspiring campaigns, but they have been far and away the best team in this season's Championship, and are heavy favourites for promotion.

Tonight's victory made it 10 wins for Wellington in 2017, contrasted by a solitary defeat. The Lions have an average winning margin of 20 points, and have conceded the least amount of points in the competition.


With all that considered, Northland were always unlikely to topple them in the capital, but they put up early resistance thanks to some bold decisions. Turning down penalties, Northland capitalised against the run of play, with Jordan Hyland and Solomona Alaimalo both finishing off smart team moves.

Wellington were looking dangerous but lacking the final product, and had to rely upon the boot of Jackson Garden-Bachop and poor Northland discipline to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Said discipline proved costly for Northland just before halftime, with Dan Pryor being sinbinned for blatantly coming in from an offside position, and Wellington immediately cashed in.

A depleted Northland scrum led to a turnover in prime position, and Garden-Bachop created a double-barreled attack by setting up Thomas Umaga-Jensen to crash over from close range.

That gave Wellington the lead, and Northland weren't given another sniff. Wes Goosen struck straight after the break, before a rampaging Julian Savea continued his strong form by creating a try for Trent Renata.

By then, the floodgates had opened, and the clash turned into a repeat of the two sides' encounter last week, which was tight at halftime before turning into a one-sided Wellington win.

Despite the defeat, Northland can take plenty from their campaign, which was a resounding success compared to their recent struggles. The Taniwha had mustered just one win in their last two seasons, but 2017 brought five wins, and a platform to build upon for a future push for promotion.

They'll have to wait for that prize however, with Wellington closing in on claiming the rewards.

Wellington 49 (Wes Goosen 2, Thomas Umaga-Jensen,Trent Renata, Tolu Fahamokioa, Regan Verney tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 5 cons, 3 pens)
Northland 21 (Jordan Hyland, Solomona Alaimalo, Sam Nock tries; Dan Hawkins 2 cons, Nock con)
HT: 16-14