Mitre 10 Cup: Auckland book premiership final spot with win over Wellington

Auckland will play Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership final after the blue and white hoops dispatched Wellington 38-17 at Eden Park.

Shunted from All Black selection, Akira Ioane took it out on the Lions, scoring twice and assisting in Auckland’s opening five-pointer.

The 23-year-old dominated the contact area and proved a key cog in Auckland’s success throughout.

Wellington started superbly with impressive fullback Wes Goosen scoring after four minutes.

Poor short-side defence was exposed by Lions chief playmaker Jackson Garden-Bachop and he set Goosen away down the right hand side for the opening try.

Auckland responded minutes later through Melani Nanai. Ioane broke off the back of the scrum, found his halfback Jonathan Ruru who in turn found his winger who raced away to level the scores.

Auckland added a further two first half tries, including a powerful effort from Ioane who crashed over with four defenders clinging to his back.

Trailing 24-10 at the break Wellington had to score first in the second spell and the responded well just nine minutes in when number eight Taeriki Ben-Nicholas scored from a nifty lineout move.

But the table-topping Aucklanders always had an answer and when Ioane crossed for his second midway through the half the match was all-but over.

Replacement prop Marco Fepulea’i finished Auckland’s scoring in the 70th minute, benefiting from good build up play by captain TJ Faiane.

The final margin of 21-points arguably favoured the Lions who struggled to build any long periods of pressure on their opponents.

Auckland Rugby have offered free entry for next weekend’s final which is scheduled for a 4.05pm kick off on Saturday.