The Wellington Lions have ended their busiest period of the Mitre 10 Cup season with an encouraging 35-23 win over North Harbour at Westpac Stadium.
Having lost to Waikato in Hamilton on Wednesday night, Wellington Lions coach Chris Gibbes made nine changes to the side for the Premiership match-up and he got the desired effect with an improved showing.
While both sides traded early penalties it was who crossed the line first when energetic hooker Asafo Aumua finished off some nice interplay to score out wide.
Despite dominating territory and possession Wellington were given a taste of just how dangerous North Harbour could be when they moved the ball quickly as Tevita Li scored from long-range.
That was the theme for long periods as Wellington created chances but North Harbour held out with some well organised defence.
That was until halfback Kemara Hauiti-Parapara scored right on the stroke of halftime to give the Wellington Lions an 18-13 lead at the break.
Wellington then aded another try straight after the break through wing Malo Tuitama to increase their advantage before Harbour came back to level the scores.
Fullback Wes Goosen, who had a really impressive game along with wing Ben Lam, then scored a really good individual try before Jackson Garden-Bachop sealed the win with an interecept try.
The Wellington Lions now prepare to face Counties Manukau away on Friday night.
Wellington 35 (Asafo Aumua, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Malo Tuitama, Wes Goosen, Jackson Garden-Bachop tries; Garden-Bachop 2pens, 2con) North Harbour 23 (Tevita Li, Matt Duffie tries; Bryn Gatland 3pens, 2cons) HT: 18-13