Cooper-Greenbank Cup 2016: King’s College take home the win

Saturday, 18 June saw the 205th Rugby First XV clash between King’s College and Auckland Grammar School, with King’s College emerging as well-deserved victor in the tightly contested encounter with a win of 25-7. 

Head of Rugby and First XV Head Coach at King’s College, Tasesa Lavea says the team had a key driver to get out there in front of a home crowd and put a really strong performance on.

“It was a true King’s College versus Auckland Grammar School game  ̶  it was tough and our boys had to work hard. We got some good dividends in the second half so a big credit goes to our boys for what was a spectacular win.”

King’s College First XV Captain Joe Johnston says the team put in a lot of hard work in the game.

“To come away as winners in the end showed that the resilience was worth it,” says Johnston.

“Auckland Grammar School is a tough school to beat  ̶  they’re one of our biggest competitors each year. We knew it would be a trying first half, and in the second half we aimed to get away from them a bit.”

On leading the team, Johnston credits a well-gelled team who back each other 100 per cent.

“They all have input and it makes this team a great team to lead,” he says.

“All our players played well and contributed to the cause,” adds Lavea.

King’s College Number 8 AJay Mua was also named Player of the Day by SKY TV commentators for a stellar performance throughout.

King’s College has maintained its 3rd= placing in the Land Rover New Zealand First XV competition. The team will travel to Dilworth School on Saturday 25 June with the goal of building on the progress made last weekend, securing another win and maintaining momentum before the team travel across to Saint Kentigern College in two weeks’ time.

 Photos of all the action, including a time-lapse video, are also up on our Facebook page

 View SKY Sport NZ’s highlights video here

Tries

King’s College

Takaji Young-Yen (1)

Ajay Mua (1)

Liam Baker-Smith (1)

Auckland Grammar School

Kaynan Siteine-Tue (1)

 

Conversions

King’s College

Ciarahn Matoe (2/3)

Auckland Grammar School

Thomas Strachnan (1/1)

 

Penalties

King’s College

Ciarahn Matoe (2/4)

Auckland Grammar School

None

 

Full match report by King’s College Technical Advisor Daryl Williams:

The match was played on a firm track with slightly overcast conditions and a strong westerly wind blowing straight down the ground.

A big crowd witnessed a game of two halves with Auckland Grammar School leading 7 – 3 at halftime, from a well-taken converted try to one of their props, and King’s College 1st 5/8 Ciarahn Matoe kicking one penalty in reply.

King’s College made several breaks in the first half and created some scoring opportunities but failed to hold onto the ball or tried to offload when it would have been better to have set up a ruck and maintain possession to build pressure.

In the last play of the half, 2nd 5/8 Lukas Halls unfortunately twisted his ankle, was unable to continue, and was replaced by Isa’ako Enosa.

After some encouraging words from the coaches at the break and a call for a calm mind-set, our players set about turning the tables on Auckland Grammar School. Solid phases were strung together, Auckland Grammar School was pushed to the fault and Matoe converted his second penalty to close the gap to one point.

Almost immediately, our backs cut through their opposites and when dragged down close to the Auckland Grammar School line, our forwards took over with a series of effective pick’n go’s that eventually saw our tighthead prop, Jakaji Young Yen, score to the right of the posts.

Matoe added the conversion and suddenly King’s College had opened up a small lead. More importantly, the King’s College team had gained momentum and confidence.

King’s College went back onto attack and set up another series of pick’n go’s that sucked in the Auckland Grammar School defenders.

King’s College halfback James Stanners passed the ball down the blindside to Matoe who sucked in two defenders and passed a great ball to left wing, Liam Baker-Smith, who scored in the corner. Matoe converted from the wide out to make the score 20-7.

King’s College now had the ascendancy and created pressure on Auckland Grammar School at a breakdown that saw the ball picked up by bullocking Number 8 AJay Mua who sprinted 60 metres down the field in front of all the King’s College supporters to score a fantastic try to seal the win for King’s College at 25-7.

With time almost up on the clock, lock Iliesa (Junior) Ratuva burst upfield, chip-kicked over a defender, re-gathered and sprinted towards the Auckland Grammar School try line only to unfortunately lose the ball as he dived for the line in an effort to score the fourth and bonus point try.

Mua was deservedly given the player of the day award by the SKY TV commentators, although all players played well and contributed to the cause.

King’s College were also able to clear the bench and get all of the reserves on at the end of the game  ̶  this was significant as every King’s College versus Auckland Grammar School match is special and every player wants to take the field.

This was a huge relief to finally ‘get the monkey off our back’, win against the old foe after four successive losses, and secure the Cooper-Greenbank Cup once again.

Well done to our boys. 

Thank you to the following sponsors for their support of King's College Rugby: 

Premier Sports Sponsor and Rugby Sponsor: Auckland City BMW

Rugby sponsors

Bayleys 

Auckland City BMW 

Heartland Bank

ORB Orthopaedics Ltd.

SRG: Radiology and MRI

Kukri New Zealand