Chances are Wellington won't get sucked into another kicking duel anytime soon.
That's how they began Thursday night's comprehensive 55-16 dismantling of Counties Manukau, before quickly realising they have far to much ball-running potential to resort to aimless hoofing.
For now, coach Chris Boyd says the Lions will live and die this season on their ability to run the ball from everywhere. It was certainly profitable at Pukekohe, where they ran in seven tries, including a couple of spectacular long-range efforts.
''We'll probably try and play like that most times,'' Boyd said yesterday.
''As a group we enjoy playing [at a] high tempo and we're probably a little bit happier with possession, rather than territory, and that's something that will be one of the things that defines us. Whether it's sensible or not will probably be the trick.''
Counties were more content to kick, but their chase wasn't up to much. Presumably teams will soon learn that sending down a staggered defensive line won't work against Wellington.
''We got into a bit of aerial ping pong with them, but realised they'd given us some opportunities to run and when you've got guys like Matty Proctor in your back three, who are very capable at that part of the game, then we're happy to engage in that,'' said Boyd.
One memorable Proctor kick return led to a try under the posts to hooker Dane Coles. But if there was a member of the Lions' back three who really caught the eye, then it was chunky Oriental Rongotai wing Afa Fa'atau.
An unlikely looking wing, the first half replacement soon showed himself to be very light on his feet and none too sluggish either.
''If you're looking at his advantages, his advantage is his physical size. He's got physical presence, there's no doubt about that,'' Boyd said of the 23-year-old.
''But he's very young from a development point of view. He hasn't done a lot of training and has never been in a professional environment before.''
Fa'atau might get another chance to impress on Friday, when Wellington meet Taranaki at New Plymouth. Thursday's starting wing Sinoti Sinoti is unlikely to be available, due to an ankle injury, although Charlie Ngatai might slot in at fullback, which would necessitate a re-shuffle of the back three.
Ngatai and fellow Chiefs player Ross Filipo have finished their prescribed rest, while hooker Motu Matu'u and prop Reggie Goodes are fit following injuries.
Matu'u's return would offset the probable departure of Coles back to the All Blacks, after proving against Counties that a lack of recent gametime hasn't diminished his ability.
Coles' set piece work was first-rate and reward for the hard work the pack did to ensure they were dominant in those areas.
''We identified against the All Blacks that the thing we needed to put the most attention into between then and Counties was the set piece. So we spent a lot of time on our scrum and lineout and it's really important for us to get those right,'' Boyd said.
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