Alex Fidow (above) scored his 18th try for Wellington and second against Canterbury. His first was scored in 2019. It was his try in this match which brought up Wellington’s 7,000th point in home matches and also provided Wellington with the chance to even the scores at fulltime.
- By Peter Marriott.
Some facts and figures from the Wellington Lions versus Canterbury match this past weekend, won 35-30 by Wellington in extra time.
Wellington’s record in all NPC matches is now played 473, won 294 (62.2%), lost 167 and drawn 12.
Wellington’s record in all NPC matches against Canterbury is played 52, won 25 (48.1%), lost 25and drawn two.
Wellington has now hosted Canterbury 27 times: Wellington has won on 19 occasions to Canterbury’s eight.
After 10 successive matches which started at 2.05pm (the last five of 2020 and the first five of this year), Wellington played a match starting at a different time: 7.05pm. It was also their first match played on a Friday after the previous 12 had been held either on a Saturday or a Sunday.
For the second match in a row between the two sides, the result was determined by Golden Point.
Last year the scores were tied 26-26 at fulltime so, for the first time in NPC history, Wellington and Canterbury played an extra 10 minutes with the first side to score being the winner of the match.
History shows Canterbury won five minutes into extra time (at 5.02 to be precise) when a Wellington pass was intercepted and the player ran almost the length of the field to score the winning try.
This year the scores were tied 30-30 at fulltime and so the two sides were again forced to play extra time to determine the winner. On this occasion, however, it was Wellington’s turn to score first when Peter Umaga-Jensen dotted down after just one minute and 37 seconds of additional playing time.
The two matches were played one year and five days apart and the referee on both occasions was Paul Williams. The match in 2020 was also the last one Wellington started at 7.05pm, before this one.
There have been three matches in 2021 which have been resolved by Golden Point. One of them was the Ranfurly Shield challenge match between the holder Hawke’s Bay and challenger Bay of Plenty. The referee for that match was Paul Williams. Canterbury was involved in the other match, against Southland, meaning they, Canterbury, have taken part in more Golden Point matches than any other side (three).
Wellington beat Canterbury at home for the fourth match in succession. They have not won that many in a row at Wellington since winning six on the trot between 1986 and 1996.
During this match Wellington passed 7000 points in home matches. The total now stands at 7007. Wellington’s win brought to an end four successive losses. The last time they lost four in a row was in 2016 when they were beaten in their last four matches.
In their last four matches this year, Wellington has conceded 32 points (against Taranaki), 31 points (against Hawke’s Bay), 33 points (against Bay of Plenty) and 30 points (against Canterbury).
In those last four matches (all lost) the losing margins have been six, six, three and one.
The three penalty goals kicked by Wellington took their overall tally in matches against Canterbury to 99.
Wellington and Canterbury continue to remain even in terms of the number of tries scored against each other. Entering the match it was 150 each. They both scored four more during this match.
Weighing in at 922 kgs, the Canterbury scrum was the heaviest to play Wellington so far this year.
Peter Umaga-Jensen scored two tries for the first time in a match. He is the 94th Wellington player to do so. His first try was scored after just one minute and five seconds and his second was the match winning try in extra time.
Umaga-Jensen has now scored 11 tries including three against Canterbury: his first was during the Golden Point match played last year. He is Wellington’s top try scorer in 2021 with four, one more than Pepesana Patafilo, Taine Plumtree and Tyrone Thompson who have each scored three.
Captain Du’Plessis Kirifi scored his eighth try, and fourth against Canterbury. He also touched down in 2017, 2018 and 2019. His maiden try for Wellington was against Canterbury.
Fidow also incurred a yellow card during the match, just the second a Wellington player has received this year.
Ruben Love had a perfect game with the boot landing all of his six attempts at goal. He kicked the conversion for Fidow’s try to tie the scores which led to extra time being played. Love scored 15 points, his best return in a match to date. He is now just three points shy of bringing up 50 for Wellington. He is Wellington’s top point scorer in 2021 with 42 points.
After six matches James Blackwell remains the only Wellington player who has been on the field for every minute of play possible (482 minutes). Wes Goosen is not far behind on 478 minutes.
Dane Coles played in his first match of 2021. He had not played since appearing in the final two matches of 2018, both off the bench. In the interim he had missed 27 games. In fact, since his sole appearance in 2013 (Wellington’s first match of the season, against Counties Manukau, when he started), he did not play in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, (made those two appearances in 2018), and then missed 2019 and 2020. So, between the match in 2013 and this one against Canterbury, Dane Coles missed playing in 92 matches and this was only his second start in nine years.
The number of players to have made at least one appearance for Wellington in 2021 is now 32.
Five different players have started at Hooker in Wellington’s six matches to date. Asafo Aumua appeared in the first two followed by Tyrone Thompson, Bruce Kauika-Petersen, James O’Reilly and now Dane Coles.
Luke Romano was yellow carded for Canterbury at the 80+1 minute mark and took no further part in the match. Seconds later Alex Fidow scored his try which was converted taking the match into extra time.
By coincidence, Romano was also yellow carded in the Golden Point match between the two sides last year. On that occasion it was after 40+2 minutes of play and a minute later Wellington scored an unconverted try which brought up halftime. At that stage Wellington was trailing by six points but in the overall scheme of things that try was crucial in that it allowed Wellington to later force the first match ever to go into Golden Point extra time.
Fergus Burke kicked 10 of Canterbury’s 30 points. The second of his two penalties was the 200th by all sides against Wellington in all matches played at the Westpac/Sky Stadium. Burke kicked 11 points in the match played last year.
Manasa Mataele scored two tries for Canterbury for the second time although it was the first occasion he has done so in a NPC match. Having previously played for Taranaki, he made his debut for Canterbury in 2020 scoring two tries in his first appearance, against North Otago which was a Ranfurly Shield Challenge match.
Josh McKay scored his third try against Wellington. He had previously crossed the line in 2017 and 2019.