21 Sep 2008

Wellington's long shield wait over

5:57 am on 21 September 2008

Wellington's 26 year wait to win back rugby's Ranfurly Shield has ended with a emphatic 27-0 win over Auckland at Eden Park.

The holders started strongly but a turnover after 10 minutes saw Wellington away for the first of their five tries.

There would have been more if there had been fewer handling errors, which also cost Auckland any chance of retaining the trophy as they made enough line breaks to be competitive.

Wellington led 10-0 at half-time and coach Jamie Joseph says they stuck to their plan to keep attacking, knowing their history of starting well only to ease off and lose.

Wellington's eighth bonus point win in a row wasn't always pretty --there were too many mistakes for that.

But Wellington's noisy fans weren't complaining while Auckland's can count themselves lucky the margin wasn't wider.

Wellington's first challenge is from Tasman next Saturday.

In the early games Hawkes Bay beat Waikato 25-14 in Napier and Countries- Manukau defeated Manawatu 27-14 at Pukekohe.