Wellington have beaten Taranaki to move into playoff contention in the provincial rugby competition, but the 49-15 victory came at a high price with a broken leg for playmaker Piri Weepu.
The All Black halfback will miss the upcoming end of season tour after he was stretchered off with a broken ankle early in the second half, when Wellington led 17-8.
While the Lions ran away in another second half thrashing to move into third place for now, the loss of Weepu's bitterly ironic.
Weepu chose to play for Wellington - at No.10 - rather than fulfil a meaningless promotional job for the NZRU in Australia, but he wouldn't have been available after this weekend anyway with the All Blacks squad being named at 6.30pm.
Albie Matthewson may now be named as the reserve halfback for the northern tour, and he again showed his class with the go-ahead try just before the break.
Elsewhere, the champions Canterbury booked a home semi-final and retained the Ranfurly Shield for the summer after beating Counties Manukau by 39-21 in Christchurch.
The loss means the Steelers are now destined for next year's Championship alongside Northland, Hawke's Bay, Tasman, North Harbour, Manawatu and Otago.
Bay of Plenty beat Southland 33-22 at Mount Maunganui to move into fourth place with a round remaining.