Lions fullback Ruben Love hits the magic line for a try against Otago

Wellington Lions young full-back Ruben Love was on fire in the first half against Otago in the NPC final round, breaking through the defense with a succinct line running at Sky Stadium.

Love burst into the game in the 11th minute following a strike play on the lineout, he took a short ball from center Billy Proctor and exploded through the Otago defense just outside from 22.

With only halfback James Arscott to beat, Love rounded the outside to comfortably score his try in the left corner.

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His precise running line was visible again a few minutes later as Wellington backs pressed on the Otago try line.

Playing with extra depth, the Lions full-back hit a fine through ball from winger Pepesana Patafilo and nearly netted his second after going through three defenders.

He put the ball back in the field of play and halfback TJ Perenara dove from close range to give the Lions a 19-0 lead.

Another try to back up Xavier Numia saw the hosts lead 26-14 at the break which proved too much for the Southerners to overcome.

Two penalty goals in the first five Aidan Morgan continued to build the Lions lead before a late comeback threatened to steal the game.

Wellington held on for a 32-26 win, lifting them to third in the conference with five wins and two losses, just one competition behind leaders Waikato.

Love’s explosive run has been a highlight for the Lions this season, the 21-year-old has taken his game to a new level since making his debut for the Hurricanes two years ago in Super Rugby Aotearoa and recently showed his potential for the Maori All Blacks against Ireland.


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Charles P. Patton