The Lions celebrate their Championship 57-45 win over the BoP Steamers in 2017.
Following Sunday’s opening win of the season against Auckland for the Fred Lucas Cup, the Wellington Lions have a short turnaround this week before hosting the Bay of Plenty Steamers at Wellington Stadium on Friday night.
In association with Peter Marriott, here are Club Rugby’s facts and figures heading into the game:
The two sides have played 33 NPC matches since 1976, Wellington has won 26, BOP five, and there have been two draws.
In matches at home, Wellington have played BOP 17 times for 14 wins, two losses and one draw. Wellington has won the last three matches at home.
Wellington has aggregated 961 points against BOP made up of 129 tries, 80 conversions, 70 penalties and four drop goals. BOP has aggregated 542 points made up of 59 tries, 40 conversions, 61 penalties and two drop goals.
39 or more points will bring up 1000 for Wellington against BOP. By happy coincidence Wellington scored 39 points against Auckland last week and have now aggregated 1001 points in all NPC matches against them.
Wellington’s overall record in NPC matches is played 459, won 288 (62.7%), lost 159 and drawn 12.
Wellington has won the last seven matches in succession against BOP. The last time the Steamers beat the Lions was in 2011 when they prevailed 32-0 under sunny skies up the road at Mt Maunganui.
Wellington won all six of their matches played at home in 2019. They are going for a seventh straight victory.
The last meeting between Wellington and BOP was on 7 September 2019, at Rotorua, where Wellington won a close one 16-15. BOP led 10-9 at halftime. There was no more scoring until the 56th minute when Peter Umaga-Jensen crossed for a try which Jackson Garden-Bachop converted. With 13 minutes remaining Emoni Narawa scored for BOP and a conversion would have put them ahead by one point. Dan Hollinshead missed the conversion and there was no further change to the score.
The last time they played at Wellington was on 27 October 2017 when Wellington won the Final 59-45 to gain promotion back to Premiership level. Wellington scored nine tries and BOP seven in that match.
The Lions won the final in extra time, after scores were locked at 40-40 after the end of 80 minutes.
The lead changed hands twice before halftime as the Lions took a 20-14 lead into the first turnaround.It was more of the same in the second half, with scores advancing to 33-33, before Wellington scored through then All Blacks wing Julian Savea and BoP answered with a try of their own. Then Lions first five-eighth Jackson Garden-Bachop missed a penalty that would have locked it up there and then. The game went to extra time and Wellington pulled clear to win.
This final win was Wellington’s first NPC title since 2000, while the last time BoP had been in a final before then was also in 2000 when they contested the Division 2 decider.
BOP has the dubious honour of being one of only two sides which have kept Wellington scoreless in a NPC match. The first was Canterbury (17-0) at Christchurch in 1977 and BOP (32-0) did so at Mt Maunganui in 2011.
BOP has just come off a close second round win (17-14) against Southland after the score was tied 14-14 at halftime.
There have also always been strong connections between the sides in these matches, and BoP’s 23-man side that took the field last start against Southland contained five players with Wellington club rugby experience, Chase Tiatia being the most prominent.
Bay of Plenty had been the inagural NPC Division 1 winners in 1976. That season’s first NPC match between the two unions was drawn 18-18.
For many seasons after that, Wellington either won their matches the two sides never met as the Steamers spent most of the 1990s playing in the old NPC second division.
They resumed regular matches in 2001 with BoP winning 14-11. In 2002, the Lions won 74-12.
Overall, Wellington and BoP have met 41 times in first-class rugby between 1912 and 2019, with Wellington winning 33, BoP five and there have been five draws.
Friday’s match kicks off at 7.05pm. See the full draw and standings HERE
The Lions beat BoP 33-16 in 2016.
The Wellington Lions squad to face Bay of Plenty is:
1 Kaliopasi Uluilakepa
2 Tyrone Thompson
3 Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe
4 James Blackwell
5 Naitoa Ah Kuoi
6 Vaea Fifita
7 Du’Plessis Kirifi [C]
8 Teariki Ben-Nicholas
9 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara
10 Jackson Garden-Bachop
11 Julian Savea or Pepesana Patafilo
12 Vince Aso
13 Peter Umaga-Jensen
14 Wes Goosen
15 Billy Proctor
16 Bruce Kauika-Petersen [DEBUT]
17 Xavier Numia
18 Ben Aumua-Peseta
19 Caleb Delany
20 Mateaki Kafatolu
21 Connor Collins
22 Trent Renata
23 Pepesana Patafilo or Ruben Love
Wellington Lions v Auckland Stat Attack
v Auckland: Won 39-21
- Wellington’s record against Auckland in NPC matches is now played 48, won 17 (35.4%), lost 31,
and drawn none.
- Wellington has won their last two matches against Auckland. The last time they won two in a row
was back in 2008, 2009.
- Wellington has also won their last two matches against Auckland, in Auckland. This has happened
only once before in the NPC Competition: in 1981 and 1983.
- Wellington’s 39 points are its highest score against Auckland since winning 46-42 at Auckland in
- Wellington’s 39 points brought up 1000 points in all NPC matches against Auckland. They now
have 1001 points at an average of 20.9 points a match.
- Wellington’s win means their total of losses away from home remains on 99.
- Ben Aumua-Peseta and Caleb Delany made their debut for Wellington. They brought the number
of debutants in 2020 to six, and a total of 28 players who have appeared in at least one match
- Connor Collins and Pepesana Patafilo appeared in a match for the first time this year.
- Wes Goosen also played his first match of 2020, his 50th overall. Goosen made his debut for
Wellington against Waikato at Wellington on 16 August 2014. His try against Auckland was his
25th meaning he scores a try in the equivalent of every second match. Goosen’s try was also the
100th to be scored in this year’s MITRE 10 Cup.
- Jackson Garden-Bachop appeared in his 52nd consecutive match for Wellington and his second of
three conversions was his 150th in all matches.
- For the first time since Trent Renata was not substituted against Tasman at Wellington on 29
September 2018, Wellington did not completely empty the bench. The player involved in this match
against Auckland was Julian Savea. A total of 16 matches were played in the interim.
- Vince Aso scored two tries, the first time he has scored more than one in a match for Wellington.
Before he came to Wellington at the start of 2019, he had played 38 matches for Auckland between
2013 and 2017. He scored one try for Auckland against Wellington in 2014.
- Leni Apisai scored a try for Auckland against Wellington: he also scored in his only other match
against Wellington played last year. Apisai joined Auckland in 2019 having previously played 30
matches for Wellington between 2014 and 2018. He did not score a try for Wellington against
- Like Leni Apisai, Jonathan Ruru scored a try in each of his last two for Auckland matches against