Lions coach Chris Gibbes has made six changes to the starting team which beat Taranaki 42-26 on Saturday, for Thursday night's clash with Bay of Plenty in Rotorua. Wellington have three games in a short space of time, so managing resources is critical.
Beyond the changes to the starting side, there's four more in the reserves, including the selection of Filipo. The Petone outside back was sentenced to nine months' supervision for assaulting four people, including two women, in November last year and ordered to attend alcohol counselling and a course on living without violence.
"We've had a solid start to the season with back-to-back wins now we enter a tough stretch of matches that will test the depth of our squad," Gibbes said in a statement.
"We expect Bay of Plenty to be very tough in Rotorua and I know the guys who have come in are excited about the challenge."
Savea has been given the week off, with Malo Tuitama taking his spot on the right wing. A hamstring injury to Trent Renata means Marist St Pats club player Andrew Wells will play fullback.
Those are the backline changes, with prop To'omaga-Allen and blindside flanker Fifita coming into the forward pack after being on All Blacks duty. Other changes include a rest for flanker Du'Plessis Kirifi and lock James Blackwell.
Wellington lead provincial rugby's championship standings, following their bonsu-point wins over Manawatu and Taranaki. Bay of Plenty are second on the ladder.
Wellington team to play Bay of Plenty: Andrew Wells, Malo Tuitama, Wes Goosen, Regan Verney, Ben Lam, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Brad Shields (c), Galu Taufale, Vaea Fifita, Sam Lousi, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Jeff To'omaga-Allen, Asafo Aumua, Tolu Fahamokioa. Reserves: Sitiveni Paongo, Vince Sakaria, Alex Fidow, Will Mangos, James Tuia, Carlos Price, Losi Filipo.
Photo by: PAUL KANE/GETTY IMAGEs Caption: Prop Jeff To'omaga-Allen is back with Wellington after a week in the All Blacks' camp.