King’s 26 – 0 Kelston
Despite the large amounts of rain we had during the week, the field over at Kelston was in great condition and the sun was shining when we commenced the match. There was very good support for our team once again and we had prepared well throughout the week for what we knew would be a very tough challenge against a team that had been in the top four for most of the season and who would be playing for pride, having slipped out of semi-finals contention. The goal for the match, therefore, was simply to win to secure first place on the table, confirm a home semi-final next weekend and maintain the positive momentum we had built up since the school holidays. We were without openside flanker Tahu Watson who had a leg injury, second five eighth Temple Kalepo and fullback Chicago Doyle, but they were very ably replaced by Leo Rusher, Sean Roberton and Max Webb, who all had strong games.
With the strong wind at our backs, we scored early through Captain Leandro Vakatini, who went in next to the posts and Aidan Morgan converted for a 7 – 0 scoreline. Unfortunately, and despite our best intentions and efforts, that was to be the totality of the scoring in the first half. We had just about all the possession and kept them pinned inside their own 22m for most of the half, but were unable to breach their defences or just made too many errors. We turned into a strong second half wind and blindside flanker Che Clark put Kelston under pressure from the kick-off, the ball was turned over and moved quickly to hooker Waiora Morris, who scored next to the posts. Once again, Aidan Morgan was able to convert to push the score out to 14 – 0. The coaches asked the boys to hold onto the ball and maintain possession in the second half and this they did. We went through many phases on several occasions and showed patience and accuracy to set up well-taken tries to fullback Max Webb and centre Meihana Grindlay. Morgan converted the fourth try and we had moved out to 26 – 0. With about 15 minutes to play, the heavens opened up and the wind and rain set in, which probably worked in our favour as we had opened up a big enough lead to make Kelston throw the ball around in an effort to reduce the score. Once again, as has been the case throughout the season, our defence held strong and Kelston were unable to breach our defensive lines, even with all our reserves on the field.
Talented Year 10 player Francis Manuleleua made his debut for the First XV on Saturday – replacing midfielder Mitch Irwin on the bench after he sustained a minor injury at training during the week. Two more players earned their caps for playing their 14thmatches for the 1st XV on Saturday. Reserve halfback Budda Doyle and right winger Eric Vaafusuaga both received their caps from Head Coach Mark Kennelly in the changing rooms after the game on Saturday. Congratulations to both boys for joining the other ‘senior’ members of the team in this wonderful tradition that we have maintained here at King’s College as it means so much to the players to wear the King’s College Cap and carry it around in their blazer pocket. Having scored four tries against Kelston, we picked up the bonus point again and we are the only team in the competition to score 11 bonus points – one for every match played. We scored the highest number of tries in the competition and also had the best defence out of all the teams, having only 96 points scored against us in 11 matches. This is a credit to the coaches who have done a fantastic job in coaching the boys and giving them the direction and skills to play what is in front of them on the field. Credit must also go to the entire squad, who have shown great pride in their goal-line – keeping eight of the eleven teams played to scoring less than 10 points each – with three of those being kept to zero.
We completed the round-robin matches on Saturday, finishing on top of the table for the first time since 2006 with 47 points, followed by St. Kents with 44, Sacred Heart with 41 and AGS with 40. This gives us a home semi-final again, as in 2018, but this year we play Grammar this Saturday, while St. Kent’s host Sacred Heart. We are very much looking forward to hosting traditional rivals Auckland Grammar School here at King’s at 2.30pm this Saturday and are hoping for another great turnout from our loyal supporters to help get us across the line and hopefully book a spot back at Eden Park for the final in two weeks’ time.
King’s 26 – 10 Aorere College
The match started off with a great first hit-up from Gene Garea setting the tone and intensity for this encounter. King’s put together some great phases to get into Aorere 22m zone, penalty! Quick tap two passes down to Zairon Savaka-Heiloa who still had some work to do to score our first converted try. King’s were on a high and got back into the Aorere half, some great power and footwork by Jarius Iosefa to score our second try, 12-0.
Deep in the half of the opposition King’s putting together almost 10+ phases to earn a penalty. Lineout, mauling drive letting Robin Couly break away from the maul to power over in our third try converted by Harry Sinclair, 19-0. But it didn’t take long for Aorere to respond with a well-constructed try close around the rucks, 19-5 score at halftime.
Second half started with a strong try from Aorere close to the ruck brought the score to 19-10. We were under a lot of pressure on our goal line but our resilient defence held them out, quick turnover from the players scoring a 80m try as a squad, Jarius Iosefa powering over for our fourth try converted 26-10.
Last five minutes of the game we were camped on our try line penalties against us, ball held up in-goal saw King’s finish the game with a strong defensive effort to hold them out.
Jarius Iosefa x2
3 from 4 Harry Sinclair
King’s 12 – 13 Auckland Grammar School
After a month off with no footy King’s 1R finally had a game at home on the number 1 against Grammar. With a disrupted week of training, due to injuries and sickness, we headed into the game with a different side that last took the field. As had been the story of late for us we struggled to wake up in the first half, allowing Grammar plenty of possession and territory to put us on the back foot. However, our defence stood tall holding them out countless times and after about 15 minutes of straight attack from Grammar they could only come away with 3 points. Our lack of ball and fitness started to kick in as we again went right back into defence. This time we couldn’t keep Grammar out, as they executed a perfect counter attack to score the first try of the match. A late penalty in the half gave them a 13-nil lead at the break.
With words of encouragement ringing in our ears we headed into the second half smelling a comeback. With confidence running through us we marched down field setting up camp inside the Grammar 22. With our first real use of possession in the whole match we finally broke Grammar as Tim Leach carried defenders on his back to get our first try of the game. From there we turned on the razzle dazzle as we had Grammar back pedalling. Sam Power showed his speed and determination breaking the defence open in midfield to march us back down field. A few phases later and Sam had grabbed himself 5 points. Game on. We continued to play hot potato as we kept the Grammar defence on their toes. However this time we couldn’t break it as Grammar held strong. It was a tense finish with our goal line defence again getting tested, but we were determined to keep them out. We played with real heart in the end going down 13-12 in a classic encounter. The boys can hold their heads high, our defence especially inside our 22 was outstanding, while our attack was unstructured at times but entertaining. However our slow start in the first half and a few interesting calls from the man with the whistle didn’t help us. We head into our final round robin game against Sacred Heart away next week, determined to get that W.
PLAYERS OF THE MATCH
Tim Leach: again outstanding in the number 8 jersey. Every time he took a hit up, he was able to beat at least one defender getting us over that gain line. In defence he lead the line-up countless times shutting down what Grammar threw at us.
Caide Davis: taking on more of a kicking and play making role, Caide lead the side around perfectly in the 9 jersey. His move from halfback to first five in the second half didn’t stop his excellent game play, with his kicking boot getting us out of trouble.
King’s 10 – 26 Auckland Grammar School
King's travelled to Grammar for a top of the table clash on Saturday and it was a clash that did not disappoint. Both teams were unbeaten heading into the final round of the competition and the winner would take bragging rights into the finals.
After a great week of preparation King's were confident of matching a very strong Grammar team, but were rocked by two early strikes to be down 12-0 after five minutes.
Ferg McLeay struck back immediately with a great try after a patient build up and it was game on at 12-5. Some poor discipline cost King's a slew of penalties through the first half and Grammar kept knocking kicks over to lead 18-5 at the break.
Despite the deficit, King's came out swinging in the second half and enjoyed significant possession and territory. Unfortunately our 10 and 12 both suffered head knocks and a rejigged backline had to do their best to contain a lively Grammar attack. Grammar finally breached the defences late in the game, but Ferg McLeay ran the length of the field in the closing stages to bring respectability to the score line at 26-10.
Joe Taylor at 9 was a standout on the day and there were fine contributions from many players on the day. There certainly is belief that this team could topple Grammar if both teams make it all the way to the final in a few weeks’ time, but a few other knockout matches need to be played prior to that event.
King’s 19 – 10 Glendowie College
King’s travelled across to Glendowie College on a beautiful Saturday morning.
A full squad assembled so there would be no excuses if we didn’t meet the challenge.
A dominant King’s side totally dominated the first half with tries to Tom Ogg (2) and Adam Irvine giving the team a 19-0 half time lead.
Glendowie came down the slope in the second half firing on all cylinders where a robust King’s forward pack repelled wave after wave of attacks. Jack Carrick was immense putting in a number of side-splitting tackles leaving the sideline supporters gasping in disbelief.
Glendowie scored a try in the corner but failed to convert to leave the score at 19-5.
They then scored another try with 12 minutes remaining to make the final 10 minutes a bit of an arm wrestle. The King’s boys refused to lie down though and the final whistle signalled a 19-10 win and guaranteed a home semi.
Thanks as always to our parents. We truly value you coming and supporting your boys.
Player of the day, Jack Carrick.
King’s 43 – 0 St Peter’s
With such a good performance and win last week, the boys went into our home game versus St Peter’s with a real sense of confidence, courage and determination. Within 10 minutes we were in the lead with two tries to wing Liam Denny. Both Liam’s tries came about from several phases of forwards and backs working together to put Liam in space out wide to put the points on the board, 10-nil King’s. First five James Ford then ran in a great try by individually carving up the St Peter’s defence dotting down next to the post and then adding the conversion, 17-nil King’s.
Strong and straight running by forward Freddie Forsythe eventuated in a try which was converted out wide by James Ford, King’s now going into half time 24-nil. As we began the second half, the boys were focused on adding more points especially with fresh players coming on to the field. Flanker Dillon Vaoga was first to score with James Ford adding the conversion, 31-nil King’s. Freddie Forsythe ran in his second try of the day after some good team work from the forward pack, 36-nil King’s. Finding space from his fullback position, Kaia Patua found his way to the try line scoring in the corner with Nicholas Goodwin adding the final conversion of the day, a very solid and good performance with the final score 43-nil King’s. Of special mention is the outstanding defence displayed by every team member with boys missing very few of their tackles. Next week we play our final game versus Sacred Heart away. Thank you to our families for your continued and good support.
King’s 7 – 10 Takapuna Grammar
Result: Lost 7 -10
Halftime score: 7 – 0
In their third game in seven days, King’s 7A turned out at home against Takapuna Grammar 7A.
In a 5th plays 1st competition match, Takapuna were always going to be a big hurdle, but a determined and committed King’s side weren’t going to let ladder positions impact on their game. Turning on the pressure from the kick-off, the first 15 minutes saw King’s dominate the game and with both their hard-working forward pack and rejigged backline both working well it was no surprise to those watching when King’s scored the game’s first points from another well worked forward move. Safely converted by Jack McKay, while King’s maintained their dominance right through until the half-time whistle, they were unable to add to their initial 7 points but went into the break reasonably pleased with their first 30-minute effort.
King’s dominance of the first half continued until midway through the second half when a fast break-out against the run of play saw Takapuna level the score line to 7-all.
From that point, the game became a hotly contested competition with neither side giving a quarter until a ruck infraction just outside the King’s 22 presented Takapuna with a gift 3-points and a 10-7 lead.
King’s spent the final 10 minutes camped down in the opposition’s half and while a penalty in front of the posts with just 3 minutes left on the clock would have allowed them to draw the match, King’s were totally focused on the win and a quick tap saw them within centimetres of achieving that objective.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be and a disappointed King’s team heard the final whistle bring the curtain down on an outstanding game of rugby just 3 points shy of what would have been a well-deserved victory.