Joe Johnston, King’s XV Captain expressed his pride in his team, despite the loss.
“The effort they put out today was outstanding. You could say luck hasn’t gone our way but in the end the effort has been there in every game.”
“A big thanks to all our supporters for coming out to our games - it’s awesome to see you guys out there. It’s hard to give you so many losses like that, but we appreciate your support,” says Johnston.
With a stiff wind blowing down the ground, the winning toss was an important part of King’s plan to play into the wind in the first half and using that advantage to pin MAGS down inside their half of the field in the second half.
With luck on our side, we won the toss and the lads played extremely well in the first half, only allowing MAGS a solitary converted try after one of their players off-loaded in the tackle to a support player, who breached our defensive line.
At 0-7 down the break, King’s coaches were feeling confident as they felt the wind advantage would bring in 15 to 20 points, if used wisely.
Led by 1st 5/8 Ciarahn Matoe, the lads set out to try pin MAGS team down in their own 22m and force them into errors. From one breakout the MAGS halfback tried a kick over the top of both packs. This was touched by one of our players and the ball luckily bounced straight into the arms of the MAGS fullback who raced away to score their second try giving them a 14 point lead.
This didn’t tear us down and we came back stronger and faster. Our superior fitness started to show and our defence was rock solid. From a series of attacks, the forward pack chimed in with some pick and goes close to their line that saw No.8 AJay Mua cross their line handy to the posts. Matoe converted and is was now 7-14.
Shortly after a MAGS player infringed from 37m out, Matoe converted a great penalty shot to shut the gap to four points with the score now 10-14 with 10 minutes left to play.
We had the better of MAGS at this stage and felt that we would crack their defences and score a try to take us into the lead. With two minutes to go, the backs ran some beautiful lines, the ball was passed about and Matoe received an inside ball and found himself through the gap and over the MAGS line in the same spot Mua scored earlier.
The score was now 15-14 and with time almost up on the clock, we all felt we had won the game already. Unfortunately, Matoe’s conversion hit the posts and bounced away.
With one minute remaining, we started to lack concentration, perhaps from celebrating too soon. So when the MAGS flanker cheekily placed a short kickoff to himself, we were caught napping. He re-gathered the ball, their forward pack created several rucks that took them inside our 22m. The referee deemed one of our players to be offside and awarded a penalty that was converted by their goal kicker and MAGS snagged our victory from the jaws of defeat 15-17.
Head Coach Tasesa Lavea, expressed his dismay at the loss.
“We have to be the unluckiest team in the competition, as we have lost four games this season, all of them against the four teams above us on the table.”
In the changing room, King’s First XV fate was revealed when the news of the results of the other matches came in. Even if we win our last match against local neighbour De La Salle College on Saturday 6 August, we won’t place in the top four and ensuing semi-finals.
“We shall attempt to finish the season in style next weekend, with a victory against our neighbours on the other side of the railway tracks so that our leavers finish their rugby careers at King’s College with a victory,” says Lavea.
The King’s First XV face De La Salle College at De La Salle on Saturday August at 2.30pm. Thank you to the following sponsors for their support of King's College Rugby:
Premier Sports Sponsor and Rugby Sponsor: Auckland City BMW