A message from the Head of Rugby
The Cooper-Greenbank trophy now resides with King’s College! Huge congratulations to the First XV players and management for their hard work and ability to keep composed under pressure in the final minutes of the game when Auckland Grammar was on the attack. Strong leadership from our captain Millenium Sanerivi and his senior players to get the job done.
Credit must also go to the numerous staff and departments across the College for hosting an outstanding event and the significant amount of hard work that goes on behind the scenes. The rugby is the focal point on the pitch but the logistics of having thousands of spectators, Sky TV, family and Old Collegians from across the world all on site at the same time takes a lot of planning so thanks to those staff that worked hard on the day to make it such a success.
I had the pleasure of refereeing the Under 15 match against Dilworth College in what was a physical encounter against a much bigger forward pack on a heavy pitch. I was impressed with the King’s teamwork, resilience and rugby nous, showing that size isn’t everything when it comes to the rugby. This team has an excellent coaching group who are working hard on their core skills, conditioning and game understanding which is showing up well on the pitch.
I have been focusing a significant amount of time on position specific skills over the past few weeks, primarily on hooker throwing, halfback play and kicking from hand with our grade team players. In player development, it is critical to understand ‘the learning pit’. This ‘pit’, illustrated here shows that to improve technique and long-term performance, there will be a dip in a player’s effectiveness in order for their neuro pathways to adapt from old techniques/behaviours to the new ones. Think of the golfer who tries to improve his swing but takes a slump in form as he works hard on his new technique. After a few missed cuts the player becomes comfortable with his new changes and goes on a winning streak and is a better, more consistent player as a result.
This coming weekend sees a busy day at King’s with 6 out of 9 teams playing at home, so we are hoping for some good conditions and great support on the side lines.
Head of Rugby
Auckland Grammar School
There is no other secondary school match in Auckland, and perhaps the whole of New Zealand, that matches the rivalry and tradition of the King’s vs Auckland Grammar First XV match. For both schools, regardless of the final placing at the end of the season, the winning team is able to say that any particular year was a successful one because of the result of this one match played between two of New Zealand’s oldest and proudest secondary schools.
This match is always televised live on Sky TV each year and this year it was King’s’ turn to host the match. With both teams sitting fourth equal before the match on 21 points each, the winning team would create a break from the other in the quest to make the semi-finals with only four rounds remaining after this one with which to earn the right to secure a play-off spot. As expected, another big crowd attended the match this year with upwards of perhaps 3,000 spectators crammed in around the field. Groundsman Jamie Jensen and his team did a fantastic job of preparing the pitch for this long-awaited and important traditional encounter. There were some pre-match light showers, but the sun came out and with a slight breeze blowing straight down the ground, King’s Captain Millenium Sanerivi won the toss and chose to play with the wind in the first half. Despite having the elements of the sun and wind at our backs in the first half, it was Auckland Grammar that dominated possession and territory and only sturdy and determined defence kept Auckland Grammar scoreless until just before halftime when their fullback converted a penalty kick awarded in our 22m to give them a 3 – 0 lead at the break.
There was no panic from the coaches and after some sound advice at halftime, we still felt that if we were to maintain our discipline and be in touch in the last quarter, that we could rely upon our superior fitness and skill level to pull us through what was a tight and even contest between two teams desperate for this must-win result. We did not need to wait too long to see a reaction from our boys as we scored two quick tries not long after the pause. The first, to Captain Millenium Sanerivi from a series of rucks and mauls close to the Auckland Grammar line, saw him carry several defenders over the line in a determined drive to finish off some patient and structured play from the whole team. Fullback Aidan Morgan converted from the left-hand side of the field for a 7 – 3 lead. Not long after, King’s once again swept back onto attack and put many phases together that saw Auckland Grammar eventually run out of defenders to put right winger Temple Kalepo over the line untouched on the right-hand side of the field. Aidan Morgan was unable to convert the try this time, but King’s had quickly moved out to 12 – 3 lead. The score remained the same for some time, but King’s lacked accuracy and discipline at times and started to give away penalties that allowed Auckland Grammar to kick deep into our half. From one such penalty, their forward pack drove from a lineout and eventually scored a well-taken try out wide. Their goalkicker was unable to convert the try and the score stayed at 12 – 8 to King’s for just about all the remainder of the second half, with both teams stuck in a torrid arm wrestle to assert their ascendancy on the other. With time almost up on the clock, King’s started to show the superior fitness that we had previously also shown against other teams and pinned Auckland Grammar deep inside their own 22m. With time up on the clock, in what was to be the final play of the game, our forward pack rumbled the Auckland Grammar pack towards their line and from a ruck, left winger Meihana Grindlay scored a try, which was converted from the left-hand side line again by Aidan Morgan for a fulltime score of 19 – 8 to King’s.
There was great relief but also great joy in this crucial win over our biggest and most-respected rivals and also a feeling that we had not perhaps played well in certain areas of our game but still managed to win – a sign of a good team. We now look forward to two more games before the end of the term and the school holidays, and a chance to push for and solidify our standing within the top four schools in the competition.
“To the victors, the spoils”. To add to the reward of a strong advantage and the possibility of qualifying for the semi-finals, is also a special Cup that is played for between these two schools – The Cooper-Greenbank Cup, named after two of our schools’ previous Headmasters. This year we re-gain the Cup that we last held in 2016 and it will take pride of place with other major inter-school trophies in the College trophy cabinet for the next year at least. We were very lucky to have one of our most famous ex All Blacks Hamish MacDonald present the Cooper-Greenbank Cup to the successful King's College First XV Rugby Captain Millennium Sanerivi at the splendid after-match function held in the College Great Hall. Catering Manager Paul Stanton and his staff catered another fantastic function for the large group of guests that were to privy to speeches by MC and President of the KCOCA Terry Gould with speeches also from both current Headmasters Simon Lamb and Tim O'Connor, both First XV Captains as well as our Guest of Honour – Hamish MacDonald.
We are always very grateful to all those who came out to support us once again last weekend, so the team and management would like to thank everyone that attended and in particular our team sponsors, the current students and staff, the Old Collegians of King’s College and the boys’ family members, as we look forward to further success in the remaining matches this term and also after the holidays in Term 3.
De La Salle College
Score: 11 – 14
Penalties: Ethan Stuart (2)
Try: Piki Mihinui
King’s College Second XV played the battle of the bridge against De La Salle College at home. The team got into good shape early and structure was going well. An early penalty by Ethan Stuart put the boys ahead 0-3.
Strong defence from Noah Perelini, Ryan Gordon, Kahuki Vaughn and Trent Foaafo put King’s in a strong place.
De La Salle hit back with a converted try making it 3-7. Up until this point King’s were led around the field well by half back Sam Vatileani, recovering from an early spare tackle that went unpunished.
Ground Hogg Day seems to follow this team every week. Second half impact from the bench players made an immediate effect. Loui Whata, Trent Tairoa, Fraser Hardy, Christian Pese, Jason Honor and Lawrence Ualesi added value where needed.
We used our lineout to roll 20-30 metres at times and were unlucky not to be awarded two penalty tries.
After a sweeping move Piki Mihinui scored in the corner, making the score 8-7 to King’s. We Another penalty to King’s was converted by Ethan Stuart, score 11-7.
However, a small lack of concentration by the boys in the dying seconds led to De La Salle turning over the ball and scoring under the posts to take the game 11-14.
We sometimes forget much of this team is Year 11 and learning to play at this level against seasoned First XV players that are Year 13. We had more than a few calls not go our way but as a team we need to adapt to what’s happening on the field and play what’s in front of us.
If we get the little things right we will get right result. Proud of the team. Thank you to our supporters.
Coaches Andre, Awanui, Matt and Kams
Tries: Alex Goodwin, Tim Leach, Tinirau Rairi
Conversions: Caide Davis (2)
Penalties: Caide Davis (2)
The team faced a very energetic Avondale side who were keen to play a physical game.
All credit to our boys whose expert focus was rewarded with three well-taken tries. Tim Leach scored the first on the right wing and then Alex Goodwin showed tenacity to finish a lovely try after short passes between players. Tinirau Rairi sealed the game when he stepped his way through defenders and powered his way to the try line.
This was a great effort by the team, depleted by injuries and boys playing out of position. William McTaggart, Boris Ulcoq and Joseph Tripp performed strongly to put in very valuable minutes on the field.
20 – 7
Tries: Senio Puleanga, Mike Tuala, Budda Doyle, Harry Leithbdrige-Ralph
This week’s game saw us take on a Dilworth College. Dilworth came out of the blocks firing and spent the first 10 minutes stationed on the King’s try line. Some exceptional defence led by lock Charlie Ludbrook kept Dilworth out.
King’s first chance at scoring saw Senio Puleanga beat two defenders to score out wide. King’s then spent the rest of the first half attacking Dilworth after their massive pack started to tire. However, fundamental mistakes stopped King’s from scoring more tries. Five minutes from half time saw fullback Mike Tuala score out wide after some good lead up work from Hamish Dizell and Charlie Ludbrook.
After the break, first-five Xavi Taele controlled the game well with his big right boot and had Dilworth pinned down on their half. After a few minutes of excellent defence and applied pressure a turn over saw replacement half back Budda Doyle exploit a gap in the ruck and score a try to take the lead out to 15-0.
The last try was scored out wide to replacement winger Harry Leithbridge Ralph. This try was scored after more sustained pressure on Dilworth’s line. After 10 more phases Harry Leithbridge Ralph was unmarked to score the try of the day.
On full time Dilworth scored a converted try.
Defence was outstanding on Saturday and will be our major focus for when we take on a very well drilled Liston College team at home.
Sacred Heart College 4A
0 – 64
King’s travelled away to take on the top team in our competition, Sacred Heart College. The team talked about the huge challenge that faced them but were determined to go out on the pitch and give it their all. The boys tried hard and at times were able to get some momentum through some good phases of play from the forward pack and nice running in the wider channels by the backline but invariably turned over possession which was always costly.
We were outgunned in all departments but soldiered on to the end. A tough day at the office. The team will look to regroup and work hard at training this week with a determination to take on St Peter’s College next weekend, again away from home.
Auckland Grammar School
5 - 17
5A went back to the well this week with another high intensity match against Auckland Grammar. A very even first half ended with Auckland Grammar 3-0 up and King's putting up a good defensive effort dealing with a lot of deep kick ball. Auckland Grammar scored an excellent try early in the second half and then were gifted an intercept try to take a handy 17-0 lead halfway through the second half.
Excellent attitude and effort saw King's pressure Auckland Grammar for the rest of the match and score a very good backline try through George McLaren to end the match at 17-5.
5A are well placed having completed their two greatest challenges of the competition and look forward to some great displays in the next few weeks.
The 6B’s had our first away game playing Howick College this weekend, who we lost to earlier in the season. King’s were slow to start, dealing with a very heavy pitch with a downhill slope. King’s spent most of the first half defending, allowing in two tries to Howick, 12-nil at half-time. After a focused team talk on the need to improve handling skills and tackling, and with the advantage of the sloping field, King’s came back with good team tries by Luca Seerden, Yanz Chen and Cody Heron. One try was converted, and we found ourselves ahead 17-12 with four minutes to go. Both teams began tiring and with only a couple of minutes remaining Howick scored, 17-17 with the kick to come.
Unfortunately, the Howick kicker was on target, final score 19-17. It was a very good close game of rugby and the 6B’s played well but need to work on basic skills. All the boys in the team had the opportunity to be on the field and play.
46 – 5
Tries: Jack Willis (2), Harry Kaveriri (2), Freddie Forsythe, Corban Drake, Myka Newman, Nic Tapper
Conversions: Harry Sinclair (3)
If they were to keep their hopes of a top four finish alive, Saturday was a must win game for the King’s 7A side and aware of this they did not fail to deliver.
In a determined and clinical performance, the team, who have only lost by the smallest of margins in any games so far this season, made sure they weren’t going to have another last-minute loss. Leading at half time 24 – 5 and after weathering a determined fightback from Rangitoto College for the first 12 minutes of the second half, King’s soon took charge again and the final whistle brought them a well-deserved 36 – 5 victory.
Great work by the forwards who so far this season haven’t failed to deliver, with Charlie McKay and Freddie Forsythe deserving special mention. The front eight provided the backline with a feast of ball and this supply of quality ball allowed Harry Kaveriri and Jack Willis to demonstrate their prowess with both scoring a brace of tries in their allotted 30 minutes of playing time.
Other standouts on the day worthy of special mention include Kruz Scott and Jack Elliott, Corban Drake, Nic Tapper - (who put in some real hard work and had his best game so far this season) and William Crawford who is showing us his superb vision and footwork skills when playing at first five.
This week the team travels to Orewa to play Orewa College and with three additional players returning to the squad, 7A should be close to having a full complement again. A continuation of Saturday’s form should hopefully see them fighting their way back into the top half of the very competitive 7th Grade table.