Friday, October 27, 2017
The Wellington Lions held on to win the Mitre 10 Cup Championship final 59-45 over a formidable Bay of Plenty Steamers side in extra time at Westpac Stadium this evening.
Nothing could separate the sides after a thrilling 80 minutes with the scores locked up 40-40. But Wellington were too good in extra time with a rampaging Julian Savea try securing the win and their place back in the Premiership for the first time since 2014.
Mike Delany kicked the Mitre 10 Cup Championship final off and it was Wellington who couldn’t hold their nerves knocking the ball on, giving the Steamers an early chance to secure the first points of the match through halfback Luke Campbell.
The Steamers went out to a 14-5 lead after individual brilliance from Joe Webber down the left hand wing saw him cross the line to power out to a nine point lead.
The home side sprung into their attack, lock Sam Lousi lengthened out to score then prop Tolu Fahamokoia punched through to take the Lions to a 20-14 lead at the break.
Wellington kicked the second half off and were punishing, Wellington Captain Brad Shields charged down to score in the corner. Then Garden-Bachop added another three to extend the Lions out to a 28-14 lead.
When it looked like Wellington had secured the Mitre 10 Cup Championship Bay of Plenty Steamers number eight Tyler Ardron scored an intercept try. Webber soon followed dancing around the Wellington defence to go in for his second and Delany was faultless with the boot tied the game up 28 all.
Bute Wellington once again took the lead through Fahamokioa. However the Steamers didn’t settle and a clean break from Campbell saw replacement number eight Jesse Parete tie the match up 33 all.
With full time looming Wellington were ahead 40-33 after the bus Julian Savea powered over. Another Steamers try would tie it all up 40 all when Terrence Hepetema crossed the line. With the fulltime hooter gone Gardon-Bachop had the opportunity to seal the Championship but hit the penalty wide to send the game into extra time.
Playing an extra 20 minutes was always going to be a tough ask for the players. Tries to Wes Goosen and replacement hooker Sitiveni Paongo made it 52-40 to the Lions at the end of the first half of extra time.
When Julian Savea bumped off two defenders to score early in the second half of extra-time, the lead was out to 59-40 and the Championship title well in their sights.
However the Steamers didn’t give up throughout the entire 100 minutes and had the final say with a try to Mitchell Karpik to make the final score 59-45.
In the end it was to be Wellington’s night in a final that will go down as one of the greats.
Wellington: 59 (Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Sam Lousi, Tolu Fahamokioa 2, Brad Shields, Wes Goosen, Sitiveni Paongo, Julian Savea tries, Jackson Garden-Bachop 2 pen, 4 con) Bay of Plenty: 45 (Luke Campbell, Joe Webber 2, Tyler Ardron, Jesse Parete, Terrence Hepetema, Mitchell Karpik tries, Mike Delany 4 con)