Wellington continue to set Championship pace

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Saturday, October 7, 2017    Getty Images

With eight losses in as many games, the hosts were looking for a minor miracle as the runaway Championship leaders aimed to start with a roar.

Both sides battled for dominance in the opening 15 minutes. However, by the time Wellington first five-eighths Jackson Garden-Bashop scored an 80 metre intercept try in the 29th minute, the visitors had scored three tries and silenced the Rugby Park faithful.

Wellington's opening two tries to Trent Renata and lock Will Mangos had touches of brilliance. The visitors' set piece execution allowed the fullback to score the team's first before Mangos' fancy footwork doubled their lead.

Southland looked to be heading to half-time trailing 0-21, until two quick tries in the final five minutes saw the hosts staring down the barrel of a 35-point deficit.

Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua's stellar season contiued, scoring the team's third and providing an incredible supporting role for Thomas Umaga-Jensen's try.

Hoani McDonald's men returned from their half-time talk with a renewed spirit, but it didn't take long for Wellington to inflict another dagger. Wes Goosen scored within five minutes to extend their lead to 42 points.

Southland responded minutes later, and kept Wellington to seven second-half points until the 70th minute. 

Regan Verney's sharp angled running saw him steam through five players desperately holding on in vain, as Wellington extended its lead to 47-5 with 10 minutes to play.

The game started to open up in the final phases of the match, and Southland's brave second half display went down in vain, with quick tries to Wellington's Sitiveni Paogo and Kemara Hawiti-Parapara.

The hosts battled for over three minutes after the fulltime whistle, and Mike McKee awarded the fans with a try to finish the game.

Southland 12 (Tim Boys, Mike McKee tries; Greg Dyer con) Wellington 61 (Kemara Hawiti-Parapara, Sitiveni Paogo, Regan Verney, Wes Goosen, Trent Renata, Will Mangos, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Asafo Aumua, Thomas Umaga-Jensen tries; Garden-Bachop 5 con, Renata 3 con). HT: 0-35.