A message from the Head of Rugby
What a game of rugby! The First XV semi-final against Sacred Heart College had all the drama, exciting plays and tension that would befit any final in the world, let alone the game that would go onto determine the Auckland 1A finalists.
Huge congratulations to the team and management for a great performance that puts them into their first final for a long number of years and against a St Peter’s team that they defeated earlier in the season away from home.
It was great to see so many supporters surrounding the pitch creating a great atmosphere for the team and the cheers when the Dayton Iobu sneaked through the ruck to score just seconds from the end was deafening. We hope you will all be able to replicate this in terms of numbers and sound next weekend at Eden Park for the final. Kick-off is 3pm and we will be communicating arrangements for the match throughout the week.
After the weekend’s action, some of the top 4 places across the grade teams has been finalised with the Colts, 5th grade and 6A all in the top 4 with potentially the Second XV joining them, depending on results this coming weekend in their last round of regular play. The 7th grade finished in the top 4 which is another round robin schedule and finished with a great 20-7 win on Saturday after playing their three games in the space of the week, which yielded two wins and one loss.
On Saturday at the pre-game reception in the pavilion, I announced that we have plans to resurrect the King’s Rugby Supporters Club in order for us to help create a better sense of community around the rugby season, with events planned, merchandise available as well as more ways to get news and information on the progress of the teams through the year.
Head of Rugby
Sacred Heart College
29 – 22
For the first time since 2010, King’s College will return to Eden Park next Saturday to contest the Auckland Schools 1A Rugby final against St. Peters College. It has been eight years since we last made the final and we are now all very excited about the prospect of winning a title for only the second time in around 50 years. The last time King’s was Champion was in 2005 and the Coaches that year were Jim Dickin and Mark Kennelly. It is no small coincidence then, that Mark is back in control of the team this year, assisted by Kevin Putt and Scott Palmer, that has strung together some stunning results throughout the season, scoring the highest number of points for, having the least amount of points scored against us and scoring the most number of tries of all the teams in the 1A competition. All up, the team has now played 17 matches, winning 15 of those with one draw (with Sacred Heart) and one loss (to St. Kents). Having finished second behind St. Kent’s College gave us a home semi-final against Sacred Heart College on Saturday and we believe this gave us an advantage that in the end saw us reach the final after a very tight and physical encounter by the score of 29 - 22. The last time we met was at Sacred Heart College in round 4 and the game ended in a 17-all draw.
Jamie Jensen and his team had prepared a firm, fast pitch and the weather was stunning – blue skies and a light wind blowing from the Pavilion end of the field towards the Great Hall end of the school. There was a huge crowd in attendance, probably somewhere between 2000 – 3000 people. The boys started the match very well and really took control of the game to Sacred Heart. It wasn’t long before the team was rewarded for some great play with a try scored by fullback Aidan Morgan. The conversion was missed but it was not long before we were back on attack. Our two props Levi Ukuakiahoia offloaded to Leandro Vakatini, who ran a beautiful line and passed to center Lukas Halls who scored one of the best tries of the season to push us out to 10 – 0. From the re-start, we were pushed to the fault and the Sacred Heart kicker converted the penalty to reduce the margin to just 7 points. King’s got back into their work and put a series of phases together, forcing Sacred to leave a gap around a ruck, which halfback Thorn Parkes ran through to score under the posts. Morgan converted, and King’s held a healthy 17 – 3 lead. The boys continued to move the bigger Sacred Heart pack around and created several more opportunities but lacked accuracy in finishing off these chances that would have probably put the game out of reach for Sacred Heart. Slowly Sacred Heart grafted their way back into the game using their big forwards as battering rams. A couple of missed tackles allowed them to break through our defense and they were rewarded with a converted try to bring the half to a close with us leading 17 – 10.
The second half started the same as the first with the boys holding onto the ball and stringing together a large number of phases before our hard-working Captain Millenium Sanerivi crashed over out wide. Morgan was again unable to convert, but we needed to score again to put the score out of reach for Sacred. To their credit, they never gave in and came storming back onto attack. Some of our defense was poor again and this allowed them to score another converted try to bring them back to 22 -17. The ball went from end to end with neither team unable to breach the others’ try-line. Eventually, Sacred created good pressure near our goal-line and their halfback scored a try to tie up the scores 22 – all. The conversion sailed wide and everyone prepared for a fast and furious final 10 minutes. The coaches had made several subs and eventually cleared the bench for a frantic final few minutes. Sacred started to play some strong rugby and set up a drop goal that sailed wide of the posts. King’s went back onto attack and created the final knockout blow, only for a wayward pass to see the ball end up over the side-line. Sacred came back into our half and were awarded a penalty about 40 meters out. Once again, the shot at goal sailed wide and the score remained 22 – all with couple of minutes to play. If the score remained the same, we would have qualified as we had drawn our pool match and had scored more tries than Sacred in this match (4 – 3). With time almost up on the clock, King’s ended up back inside the Sacred 22m and used the forwards to pick and drive towards the Sacred try-line. When one of our forwards was stopped just short of the line replacement halfback Dayton Lobu scooped up the ball and dived over next to the posts. Aidan Morgan converted, the ball was retained from the kick-off for the final few seconds and was booted into touch to end an intense and exciting semi-final with the scoreboard reading King’s 29 – Sacred 22.
The whole squad is to be congratulated for a fine job, and are deserving of their place in the final, but the biggest hurdle of all still remains as we head to Eden Park next Saturday to take on St. Peters College who upset previously undefeated and firm favourites for the title – St. Kent’s at their home ground in Pakuranga. Kick-off is at 2.30pm and we hope to see a ‘sea of maroon’ supporters there to witness what could be history in the making for our very proud College.
18 - 12
King's College Second XV caused a major upset over the weekend in the 2A competition by beating front runners Wesley College 18-12 in a tough battle. First half tries to Ethan Stuart and Max Webb put our team in a dominant position with great front foot play from our forwards. Kahuki Vaughan and Harry Lee lead the way with some bruising tackles on their bigger forward pack. Fraser Hardy and Amorangi Kuka made great yards where Mitch Urwin and Christian Pese were terrorising the opposition all day with big runs.
Max Webb scored in the last five minutes with Mitch Urwin sealing the win with a 45 metre penalty. Great result! Potential top 4 beckons dependant on the last week of fixtures this coming Saturday.
Coaches Awanui, Andre and Kams.
Onehunga High School
7 - 13
Tries: Alex Goodwin, George Bennett
Penalties: Caide Davis
Onehunga High presented a huge challenge for the team and were easily the biggest team we have played against. They were ready to play hard and bully us off the field. However, they faced a tenacious King’s team that tackled their hearts out and, on some occasions, drove the big opposition backwards. Alex Goodwin scored after a well-placed kick enabled him to outsprint his winger. George Bennett scored on the left wing after the forwards overturned opposition ball. Onehunga grabbed a converted try 5 minutes from the end. This was the team’s best win to date and will now go into next week’s quarter finals quietly confident.
Mount Albert Grammar
0 - 34
The weather was set for an open style running game of which we had been training this week to combat our competition leaders Mount Albert Grammar School. We knew we had to be at our best to have any chance of getting the desired result.
We kicked off and the plan was to put pressure on them right from the outset. That meant being set early in both attack and defence and then capitalising on any opportunities we created. The signs were ominous in the early exchanges as we managed to move the ball to different contact points and really test their defence line. We had got a couple of early penalties but unfortunately our boys decided to tap and run instead of taking points. We would continue to attack and really test Mount Albert Grammar defense line, but they were up for the battle and we could quite get over the line.
This was a key difference. As soon as they came through to our territory they would capitalise and scored points. From their constant attack, whether it be their forwards or backs, they would put the pressure back on us which forced errors and they punished us with a penalty and a try. We kept fighting through the first half only to be down 10-0. We knew our boys had worked hard in the first half with no reward. We kept everything positive and reinforced our game plan and emphasised how important it was to score points first.
The challenge was getting more difficult as we had lost Brad Fifita in the first half which took away one of our main ball carriers and weight in our scrum. As the second half opened we could see the Mount Albert Grammar team step up a level and as time went through our boys failed to keep up. More injuries to our forwards saw both Props Sione and Tevita come off and so we had to make shift some boys to fill their spots.
The last 10 minutes was a tough watch as the opposition put on some awesome display of skill and power to win 34-0. As disappointing as this was I was proud of the efforts of our team especially players like Zairon, Stacy and Haythem who all stood up to play in the front row when we had no one else to fill in those positions. The boys will now know what it takes to compete against the best.
We hope to keep improving and be ready for the next battle.
St Peter’s College
58 – 0
5A welcomed St Peters to King's College on Saturday and put together their finest performance of the season. The forwards were superb at the set piece and dominated the ruck and maul while the backs showed off some slick handling and outstanding passing out of the tackle.
The team were 22-0 up at halftime courtesy of tries from George Hall from the first move of the game, Sam Nordmeyer, Josh Nichol and Monty Hare. The second half saw six further tries being scored with three going to Taigo Chapman and one each to Reuben Fautua, Fergus McLeay and Charlie Wrapson. Nathan Robinson managed to convert four tries in a difficult wind to take the score out to 58-0.
It was a real pleasure to watch rugby played as it should be, and the boys finally understood how to balance forward dominance with backline subtlety. We look forward to next week’s quarter final draw being released.
Auckland Grammar School
19 - 22
Our final game of the season was at home against Auckland Grammar School. King’s began the game strongly with a storming run and try by our outstanding flanker Yanz Chen. Not long after, Moziah Latu, obviously inspired by the forwards work rate, rewarded the team with a skilful try, which was ably converted by Cody Heron, 12-nil to King’s.
After some great ball retention and good passing skills between forwards and backs, our hard-working Captain Harry Grieve dotted down under the posts, thus making it simple for Cody Heron to add the conversion, 19-nil to King’s. The Auckland Grammar team then found their rhythm and managed to score a try in the final seconds of the first half, which really lifted their heads for the second half. With a very comfortable lead going into the second half, King’s, unfortunately, took their foot off the pedal and allowed Grammar to get right back into the game.
Grammar scored three unanswered tries with one converted, which put them into the lead at 22-19 with a few minutes to play. King’s fought bravely with some strong valiant running, but alas, the clock ran out, final score 22-19 to Auckland Grammar.
Thank you so much to all the boys for this season. We have found it great fun, giving our time and energy to the team and hope the boys enjoyed the past couple of months. Thank you so much to all parents and families for giving your time, support and oranges at the games. A final verse from Acts 20 verse 35: ‘Remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”’
Rev and Jimmy.
King’s 7A had to play two matches last week against two of the other Top 4 Team’s from the initial round robin with outstanding outcomes as below.
Tuesday 7 August
Rosmini College 7A
31 – 22
Win (Halftime Score 12 – 22)
Tries: Jack Elliott (2), Nick Tapper, Harry Kaveriri and Kruz Scott
Conversions: Myka Newman (2), Harry Sinclair
King’s 7A travelled across to Rosmini College Tuesday afternoon for their missed first weekend catch-up match against Rosmini College 7A.
Despite having shaken off some of the holiday rust in their first back game against Mahurangi four days earlier, King’s were again slow to hit their straps and despite two first half tries to Jack Elliott and Nick Tapper one of them converted by Harry Sinclair, found themselves well behind 12 – 22 at the half time whistle.
However, in a free flowing and very willing encounter, King’s were always having the better of the up-front battle and it wasn’t long before Jack Elliott added his second try which was converted by Myka Newman and King’s were in the game again at 19-22.
With the King’s backline now showing some stouter defense, Rosmini’s outside speedsters were finding it harder to breech their line and it wasn’t too long before their more static and frustrated backline passing saw Harry Kaveriri swoop up an intercept and run 75-metres for a try under the posts that was duly converted by Myka Newman.
As if to showcase his all-round abilities, halfback Kruz Scott, who unselfishly had accepted a position way out on the left wing demonstrated superb footwork and ball skills to score King’s final unconverted try to hold Rosmini scoreless in the second half and take King’s out to a well-deserved 31-22 win.
Players of the day were undoubtedly the entire forward pack, but it would be unfair not to include Jack Elliott and Harry Kaveriri in that accolade as well.
Saturday 11 August
Westlake 7A (Green)
20 - 7
Win (Halftime Score 10 - 0)
Tries: Kia Patua and William Crawford
Conversions: Harry Sinclair and William Crawford
Penalties: Harry Sinclair and Myka Newman
In their final match of the Top 4, King’s 7A fronted Westlake Green who had the first weekend beaten the competition leaders Mahurangi 12 – 5 a week earlier and who no doubt saw a second victory over King’s this season as a primary objective.
However, King’s had other ideas and again a determined forward pack set the tone for what became a thoroughly enjoyable game for both sets of spectators. Awarded a kickable penalty 12 minutes into a scoreless first half, King’s intelligently decided to accept the points opportunity and the ever-improving, reliable boot of Harry Sinclair put them 3-points ahead.
An aggressively defensive King’s side were causing Westlake all sorts of issues and it wasn’t too much longer before left winger Kaia Patua was given enough room by his solid inside backline to demonstrate his many talents with an outstanding try and with Harry Sinclair adding the conversion, King’s went into the halftime break leading 10 – 0.
Just 10 minutes into the second half, King’s were given another penalty opportunity to add to their tally and the talented boot of centre Myka Newman had little trouble sending his side out to a 13 – 0 lead. However, a determined Westlake kept pressing and looked like they might turn the tide when after some sustained pressure five minutes later they scored a converted try to bring the score into 13 – 7. But an absolutely rampant forward pack with eight truly committed forwards were not about to let them in and King’s pressure started to erode any thoughts Westlake may have had of a comeback victory. And to make sure that the issue was going to be beyond doubt, with three-minutes to go, second half halfback, William Crawford capitalized on this forward pressure to score a well-deserved try that he proceeded to convert from close on the sideline for himself. William has deserved more game time in his preferred position than we have been able to give him, so this was due recognition to his commitment and stickability!
With an outstanding game in the competition still, King's are waiting to hear who their semi-final opponents will be this Saturday. But with their recent two wins, they are obviously coming right at the right time.