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Mike Gibson Memorial Trophy on the line for Lions against Otago

A hat-trick for Wes Goosen last year against Otago, and seven tries in four games against them. 

Stat attack below by Peter Marriott.

It’s a match dripping in history and Wellington will also be defending a coveted trophy when they play Otago this coming Sunday at Wellington Stadium.

When Otago and Wellington met at Wellington on 24 July 1883, it was the first clash between a North Island union and one from the South Island, and Wellington’s first official game.

This Sunday the two teams are playing their 119th game against each other and also playing for the Mike Gibson Memorial Trophy.

Gibson was a popular and dashing centre and wing who played for both Wellington and Otago in the 1980s, before dying of Leukemia, aged 27. He played three seasons for Otago, and one full season in Wellington and for the Lions before cancer struck and he passed away the following year in 1988.

In his honour, Gibson’s Bay of Plenty-based family commissioned a trophy to be played annually between Wellington and Otago and his parents and several family members brought it down to present it to the inaugural winner. The trophy was carved by Winiata Tapsell, a grandson of Winiata Tapsell who played for New Zealand Maori against the Springboks in 1921.

Wellington won the inaugural Mike Gibson Memorial Trophy 27-11 in 1989.

Going into this Sunday’s Wellington has played Otago 42 times previously in the NPC competition, with Wellington winning 24 (57.1%), losing 16 and drawing two of these.  The results of those matches are below.

Wellington won its first eight NPC encounters with Otago between 1976 and 1983, but Otago beat Wellington in eight out of nine successive encounters between 1990 and 1998. The other match was drawn.

There have been two NPC draws between Wellington and Otago, these were in 1993 (20-20) and in 2004 (16-16). But after last week’s result against Canterbury there will be no draw this weekend.

Wellington has hosted Otago on 22 previous occasions and the results of those matches played in Wellington are:

Year Won by Score
1977 Wellington 17-13
1979 Wellington 15-3
1981 Wellington 26-6
1983 Wellington 24-4
1985 Wellington 29-24
1987 Wellington 21-19
1989 Wellington 27-11
1991 Otago 22-10
1993 Drawn 20-20
1995 Otago 33-19
1997 Otago 32-27
1999 Wellington 36-16
2001 Otago 28-10
2003 Otago 26-8
2005 Otago 26-10
2007 Wellington 68-7
2009 RS Wellington 23-19
2015 Otago 37-36
(SF) Wellington 34-14
2017 Wellington 27-24
2018 Wellington 34-16
2019 Wellington 54-24

As above, Wellington has won 14 times to Otago’s seven. There has been one draw.

Wellington’s 68-7 win in 2007 was the highest score and biggest margin ever recorded against Otago by any team.

Wellington won this match last year 54-24, by a margin of eight tries to four.

In 2015, Otago pipped the Lions 37-36. Left wing Ben Lam scored two tries for Wellington in their 27-24 win in 2017.

In 2018 Wes Goosen scored two tries inside the first 10 minutes as the Lions got off to a cracking start on their way to winning 34-16.

Goosen also scored hat-trick in last year’s win, and has scored seven tries in four games against them.

His hat-trick last year was just the second by a Wellington player against Otago after Matt Proctor’s hat-trick in 2012. Chainsaw (not the photographer) Laney scored three tries for Otago against Wellington in 1998.

Whilst Wellington is coming off a 26-31 loss to Canterbury, that in previous years would have been a draw, Otago enters this game after a demoralising defeat to Hawke’s Bay by 9-28 that saw them relinquish the Ranfurly Shield only a matter of days after they won it off Taranaki.

Wellington’s overall record in all NPC matches is played 461, won 289 (62.7%), lost 160, and drawn 12.

Otago’s overall record in all NPC matches is played 459, won 230 (50.1%), lost 217 and drawn 12.

Wellington has conceded 49 drop goals in all NPC matches played since 1996 but has not done so since 2011, against Manawatu at Wellington.

In all NPC matches against Otago, Wellington has aggregated 993 points made up of 130 tries, 95 conversions, 65 penalty goals, and two drop goals.

In all NPC matches against Wellington, Otago has aggregated 874 points made up of 96 tries, 66 conversions, 90 penalty goals, and six drop goals.

Wellington has scored four tries or better in NPC matches against Otago on 17 occasions, including 11 times at Wellington, and in the last five matches in a row.

Otago has scored four tries or better in a NPC match against Wellington on seven occasions, including last year when they played in Wellington.

Wellington has scored four tries or better in NPC matches against Otago on 17 occasions, including 11 times at Wellington, and in the last five matches in a row.

Otago has scored four tries or better in a NPC match against Wellington on seven occasions, including last year when they played in Wellington.

Wellington’s record for most tries scored in a NPC match against Otago is nine, at Wellington in 2007.

Otago’s record for most tries in a match against Wellington is 12, at Dunedin in 1998.

Wellington has won their last seven matches at home including all six played in 2019 and the one played against Bay of Plenty last month.

This season Otago has won both away games but lost their two at home, including the last one against Hawke’s Bay when they surrendered the Ranfurly Shield after holding it for just seven days.

Vince Aso is the top try scorer for Wellington this year with three tries.

Jackson Garden-Bachop is the top point scorer for Wellington this year with 30 points.

A total of 33 players, including eight debutants, have appeared in at least one match for Wellington this year.

Julian Savea has scored in each of his two previous matches against Otago. He scored two tries in 2010 and one in 2017, the third and last time he captained Wellington.

To date this year Wellington has aggregated 125 points made up of 19 tries, 12 conversions and two penalties. They have conceded 115 points made up of 13 tries, 10 conversions and 10 penalties.

Wellington has attempted to kick just three penalty goals, in their first four matches.

In 118 first-class matches overall since their first clash in 1883, Wellington has won 64, Otago 45 and nine have been drawn.

Wellington v Otago in the National Provincial Championship:

Year Venue Won by Score
1976 Dunedin Wellington 29-7
1977 Wellington Wellington 17-13
1978 Dunedin Wellington 14-9
1979 Wellington Wellington 15-3
1980 Dunedin Wellington 28-17
1981 Wellington Wellington 26-6
1982 Dunedin Wellington 27-21
1983 Wellington Wellington 24-4
1984 Dunedin Otago 20-15
1985 Wellington Wellington 29-24
1986 Dunedin Wellington 30-6
1987 Wellington Wellington 21-19
1988 Dunedin Wellington 25-9
1989 Wellington Wellington 27-11
1990 Dunedin Otago 29-6
1991 Wellington Otago 22-10
1992 Dunedin Otago 20-17
1993 Wellington Drawn 20-20
1994 Dunedin Otago 31-14
1995 Wellington Otago 33-19
1996 Dunedin Otago 18-10
1997 Wellington Otago 32-27
1998 Dunedin Otago 82-10
1999 Wellington Wellington 36-16
2000 Dunedin Wellington 10-6
2001 Wellington Otago 28-10
2002 Dunedin Otago 21-20
2003 Wellington Otago 26-8
2004 Dunedin Drawn 16-16
2005 Wellington Otago 26-10
2006 Dunedin Wellington 21-14
2007 Wellington Wellington 68-7
2008 Dunedin Otago 36-21
2009 Wellington RS Wellington 23-19
2010 Dunedin Wellington 35-22
2012 Dunedin Wellington 49-22
2015 Wellington Otago 37-36
Wellington (SF) Wellington 34-14
2016 Dunedin Otago 44-21
2017 Wellington Wellington 27-24
2018 Wellington Wellington 34-16
2019 Wellington Wellington 54-24

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