Enthusiastic Squad Competes at Nationals

King's Touch players recently contested in the Secondary Schools' Nationals Tournament.

Although a slightly depleted team with several players on a Thailand rugby tour, the boys performed extremely well.

The opening game was very heartening with an easy 7-3 victory over Waitakere College, with tries to Trent Tipene, Tinirau Rairi, Temple Kalepo, Oliva Mason, Isa’ako Enosa (2) and a wonderful diving effort from Marzellus Salaivao. However we quickly realised the high standards when we were beaten by the South Island Champions, Kings School, 3-9. This left us only needing to draw our last game against Trident High School to go through to the Championship section on point’s difference. A late surge was not enough, even with Ciarahn Matoe scoring two tries in the last five minutes, and we succumbed 5-6.

Day two was very demanding, especially with the weather heating up and the minimum number of sub’s we had. This did not stop the team playing an expansive game and scoring some wonderful touchdowns. The early game against St Patrick’s College Silverstream was disappointing with only two tries, from captain Moses Puru, to show for our excellent endeavour. We lost 2-5. We then played another well performed southern team in Christchurch Boys' High School and were well beaten 3-8 with tries to Tipene, Rairi and Puru. In the last game of the day, against Regional Champions St Paul's, King’s was at their best. Tries to Salaivao and Puru (2) meant that we led 3-2 with the hooter about to go. Excellent play by St Paul's drew the game in the last moment.

The final day was met with great enthusiasm, but some tired bodies. In an outstanding opening game King’s dominated play, and the scoreboard, and led 6-5 with two minutes to play thanks to tries from Awanuiarangi Morris, Tipene (2), Mason, Rairi and Xela Pathan. We dropped the ball over the line scoring a try and were punished with two tries in the last plays to sink to a 6-7 loss. Thankfully the team dug deep and played outstanding touch in the final match to win 4-3 thanks to tries from Matoe, Morris, Rairi and Pathan, thereby gaining a ranking of 15th in New Zealand.