Wellington have broken their four-match losing streak, with an extra-time special needed to sink Canterbury 35-30 in Wellington on Friday night.
It will be a major relief to the Lions, who got off to the dream start before seeing a 17-point lead disappear almost as quickly as they as they established it.
Wellington midfielder Peter Umaga-Jensen opened the scoring on the back of a Canterbury error just two minutes into the contest, setting the tone for the opening 15 minutes.
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Following Umaga-Jensen's try and a Ruben Love penalty, captain Du'Plessis Kirifi crashed over from close range to further lay the platform for what looked like it might be a convincing win.
Returning All Black Sam Whitelock played a big role in setting Canterbury on the path to a comeback, bursting onto a lovely ball from halfback Mitchell Drummond to go clear through a gap. While he was brought down short of the line, some loose play in the phase following fell kindly for Canterbury, with winger Manasa Mataele scooping up the loose ball and speeding across the stripe.
An impressive effort from Josh McKay to collect a high ball and plant it under pressure saw Canterbury draw closer, however Wellington kept them marginally at bay heading into halftime as Love added another penalty.
A yellow card to Wellington prop Alex Fidow early into the second half opened the door for Canterbury to find the lead with tries to Mataele and Chay Fihaki. A penalty from the boot of Fergus Burke pushed the gap to seven points, however Fidow turned Wellington hero in the final play of regular time, scoring from close range, and Love's conversion forced extra time.
Little time was needed in the extra period, as Wellington patiently built phases before a half-break from Kirifi. He got an offload away to Aidan Morgan, who danced around the defence before sending Umaga-Jensen in for the deciding try.
Wellington 35 (Peter Umaga-Jensen 2, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Alex Fidow tries; Ruben Love 3 cons, 3 pens)
Canterbury 30 (Manasa Mataele 2, Josh McKay, Chay Fihaki tries; Fergus Burke 2 cons, 2 pens)