- By Peter Marriott
The Wellington Lions played Waikato in their opening 2020 National Provincial Championship fixture, losing 28-53.
Some facts and figures related to that game below.
Wellington lost its first match of the new season for the second year in a row. The last time this happened was back in 1998 and 1999 when they lost their opening matches to Southland and Auckland respectively.
The 53 points scored by Waikato is the second highest total ever conceded by Wellington in their first match of the season. In 1997 they were beaten 73-7 by Canterbury at Christchurch.
The 53 points is a new record for most points scored by Waikato in a match against Wellington. The previous record was Waikato’s 49-35 win at Wellington in 2002.
Wellington has never before conceded 53 points in a NPC match and have only had more points scored against them on six occasions.
Wellington has now recorded every score possible in a match from 0 to 55. The next lowest score they have never recorded is therefore 56.
The last time Wellington conceded more points than the 53 against Waikato was against Taranaki (31-54) at Wellington in October 2016.
In their last eight matches against Waikato Wellington’s sequence of results has gone W L W L W L W L.
The loss against Waikato is the 99th occasion Wellington has lost a match away from home.
Wellington’s overall record against Waikato is now played 43, won 24, lost 19 and drawn none.
Wellington has brought up 600 points (603) in all away matches played against Waikato. This extends Wellington’s record aggregate in away matches against all opposition sides.
The fourth of four conversions kicked by Wellington is the 100th in all matches against Waikato.
Wellington’s overall record in all NPC matches is played 458, won 287 (62.7%), lost 159, and drawn 12.
Wellington has now scored 145 tries against Waikato, just one short of the record 146 scored against Canterbury and Taranaki.
Aidan Morgan, Taine Plumtree, Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe and Tyrone Thompson all made their debut for Wellington, and all off the bench.
Morgan, Plumtree and Thompson were all born in the 21st century, as was Connor Garden-Bachop who made his debut last year. Morgan was, however, born in 2001 whereas the other three were born in 2000.
Three of the Wellington forwards, namely Asafo Aumua, James Blackwell and Vaea Fifita, all played their 43rd match for Wellington.
TJ Perenara appeared for Wellington for the first time since he played his one and only match in 2018. Prior to then he had played twice in 2013 and twice in 2014.
Brothers Julian and Ardie Savea appeared together for the first-ever time in a match for Wellington. Julian had made his debut in 2010 and also appeared in 2011, 2012 and 2017. Ardie made his debut in 2012 and also played in 2013, 2015 and 2018. They both played in 2012: Ardie in 10 of the 11 matches and Julian in one. Strange to say the match Julian appeared in was the one Ardie did not.
Julian’s try was his 16th for Wellington and Ardie’s was his 17th. The last time brothers both scored a try in the same match was when Peter and Thomas Umaga-Jensen did so against Manawatu at Palmerston North in 2018.
Julian Savea’s last try for Wellington was against Bay of Plenty in the 2017 Final at Wellington. That was his last match before this one which means he has scored tries in successive matches, but three year’s apart.
Connor Garden-Bachop scored his first try for Wellington, in his fifth match.
There were two sets of brothers in the match and all started: Connor and Jackson Garden-Bachop and Ardie and Julian Savea. This is the first occasion this has happened since Mike and Tana Umaga and Simon and Tim Mannix all started against King Country at Taumarunui on 17 September 1994. Last year the Garden-Bachop brothers, together with the Umaga-Jensen brothers Peter and Thomas all appeared for Wellington, but never all together in the same match.
Wellington has often had brothers who have appeared during the same season and in many instances such as this year and in 2019, there have been two sets. However, in 1998 there were actually three sets of brothers who played, namely Fa’atoto and Misiluni Moananu, Laifa and Sene Ta’ala, and Ace and Filo Tiatia. On one occasion four of them appeared during the same match but it so happened the combination was such that only one set of brothers played in that match.
What is unique, however, about the match against Waikato is that both the Garden-Bachop brothers and the Savea brothers all scored points for Wellington. Connor scored a try and Jackson kicked four conversions whilst the Saveas, Ardie and Julian, both scored a try. I believe this has not occurred in any previous matches played by Wellington.
Jackson Garden-Bachop appeared in his 51st match in succession. Since being absent from the match against Hawke’s Bay at Wellington on 30 September 2015, Garden-Bachop has not missed a single game for Wellington.
Damian McKenzie scored a try, five conversions and six penalties for a personal total of 33 points. This is a new Waikato record for most points scored by an individual in a match against Wellington surpassing the 27 points aggregated by David Hill at Hamilton in 2001.