There’s no escaping it, Wellington’s ITM Cup campaign is officially a disaster.
The toothless Lions have lost six straight, with their latest defeat coming at the hands of Tasman who destroyed Chris Boyd’s men 42-20 in the capital.
It’s hard to imagine how this season could get much worse for Wellington who seem destined to be relegated from the Premiership in what would be a huge blow to the pride of a proud province.
Their next match against Counties Manukau in Pukekohe on Saturday could decide their fate, as the Steelers have nine competition points to Wellington’s two. Victory would give Wellington a chance to avoid the drop with a few weeks left in the season.
But based on their efforts in the competition so far, there’s been little to suggest that a victory is coming for Wellington, although their final match of the campaign against the woeful North Harbour must be circled on the calendar with joy.
It was hard to describe Wellington’s performance against Tasman but they seemed to be lacking in every facet of the game.
They gave away penalties regularly, fell off tackles constantly and offered little on attack, as their lack of combinations proved costly.
Coach Boyd has had to juggle an enormous player turnover from last year’s squad and a horror injury toll this season but he could still call upon ten players with Super Rugby experience in his match-day 22 today.
Journeyman pivot Willie Ripia was signed from obscurity mid-week to become Wellington’s umpteenth choice to run the cutter this season and he failed to get things going but a player of his experience should be persevered with.
The victory was Tasman’s fifth of the season as they kept the pace with the Premiership’s kingpins, Canterbury and Taranaki.
Playoff rugby is a reality for the Makos this year who have made a good fist of things since being promoted from the Championship.