Wellington will be at full strength for Saturday's NPC Premiership semifinal against Auckland at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.
Nine Lions players sat out big chunks of Tuesday's training session but only one - prop Arden David-Perrot - was not fit enough to be selected in the team to face Auckland.
Prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen and centre Alapati Leiua still played a limited part in today's team practice at Rugby League Park, as each recover from minor leg injuries. Wing and goal kicker Jason Woodward was absent entirely, thanks to a bout of food poisoning.
Despite not having everyone on deck today, Wellington coach Chris Boyd was confident that all the players would participate in tomorrow's captain's run.
The Lions have a record of regularly qualifying for the playoffs, only to be eliminated from them without having a trophy to show for it. For that reason Boyd has kept things bright and breezy at training this week.
Not to the extent of taking Auckland lightly or assuming that a win is assured. Having lost 43-30 already this season, in a performance Boyd described as his team's worst, there's no danger of complacency on Saturday.
But getting tense or building up the importance of this semifinal won't do the team any good, Boyd said. So they're keeping as relaxed as possible and approaching the game as an opportunity to have fun.
That attitude suits Wellington's style of play. With Tim Bateman again preferred to Lima Sopoaga at first five-eighth, the Lions will look to employ a fast-paced approach designed to move Auckland's defenders around.
Not every team can play that way but Wellington are a mobile team. Front rowers Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles and Reggie Goodes have the pace and handling skills of some backs, for instance, while No 8 Ardie Savea is a unique and explosive athlete.
Savea's selection at the back of the scrum means Scott Fuglistaller will again be on the openside flank, giving Wellington the twin ''fetchers'' they hope will enable them to execute their high-energy gameplan.
Wellington team to play Auckland: Charlie Ngatai, Matt Proctor, Alipati Leiua, Shaun Treeby, Jason Woodward, Tim Bateman, Frae Wilson, Ardie Savea, Scott Fuglistaller, Ross Filipo, Mark Reddish, Jeremy Thrush (c), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, Reggie Goodes. Reserves: Motu Matu'u, Eric Sione, Lua Lokotui, Genesis Mamea, Kayne Hammington, Lima Sopoaga, Ambrose Curtis
- © Fairfax NZ News
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