King’s 22 vs 12 Auckland Grammar
On Saturday, we hosted our oldest traditional rivals Auckland Grammar School here at King’s for our much awaited 1A semi-final match. The game was chosen as the SKY TV match of the day, so the cameras were here as well, just to add to the excitement and importance of the match. Head Groundsman Jamie Jensen had done another sterling job in producing a firm and well-prepared field; there was a bumper crowd with probably just as many Grammar supporters as King’s supporters, which helped set the scene for another intense and tight struggle between two of the best teams in the Auckland 1A championship. There was a large number of Old Collegians in attendance, all keen for us to maintain the positive momentum we have created particularly over the second half of the season. We were given hosting rights as we completed the round-robin matches as top of the table with Grammar finishing in fourth spot. We had a few players who were carrying injuries, but we were at full strength for this knock-out match and so, with a stiff breeze blowing down the ground towards the pavilion and the rain staying away, the scene was set for another epic encounter.
We commenced the match with the wind at our backs, so the plan was to get some points on the board early and utilise the wind advantage to pin Grammar inside their own 22m. After a while, we were awarded a penalty at a ruck, which first five eighth Aidan Morgan converted for a 3 – 0 lead. Not long after, we broke out from our 22, the ball was moved down the left-hand side to left winger Luron Iosefa, who chipped over the top, re-gathered the ball and was stopped just short of the Grammar try line. From the ensuing scrum, the forwards rumbled the ball forward through several phases and it eventually was moved to vice-captain Aidan Morgan who scored next to the posts. With the conversion of the try, we held a 10 – 0 lead, but this was all the scoring we would do in the first half. Grammar replied not long after with a well-deserved try out wide after holding onto the ball through multiple phases to go into the break with us holding a 10 – 5 lead.
Playing into the wind in the second half, we knew that we would have to hold onto the ball, knowing that if we gave Grammar possession, they would use the wind to kick the ball deep, forcing us back inside our own half. The entire team went to work, trying to maintain possession and defending with passion, every time Grammar had the ball and tried to make in-roads into our defensive line. Our strength throughout the season has been moving the ball wide and holding onto the ball for multiple phases to eventually find a hole in the opposition’s defence. From one of the many breakouts in the second half, winger Iosefa linked with blindside flanker Che Clark who was ankle-tapped only metres out from the Grammar line. The ball was presented, centre Meihana Grindlay picked it up and crashed over for a well-taken try. Morgan converted and we had moved out to a 17 – 5 lead. Back came Grammar, and try as we might, we were unable to stop them from scoring a try in the left hand corner. Their goal-kicker was on-target with the conversion again, so we were back to a 5 point lead. As we moved into the final quarter, left wing Iosefa was on the end of some good interactive play and crashed over in the left-hand corner, carrying several defenders with him. The referee was un-sighted but the Assistant Referee confirmed that he had scored a try to take the score out to 22 – 12. Morgan was unable to convert from the sideline but with 10 minutes still to play, Grammar would have to score twice to take the lead.
Throughout the season, I have reported that our defence has been the best in the competition (only 96 points scored in our 11 championship matches). Once again, our boys worked for each other, showing pride in our line – repelling wave after wave of the Grammar forwards who tried in vain to penetrate our defence. We managed to hold out and when the final whistle blew, the King’s supporters exploded onto the field, showing how much this victory meant to everyone as well as the importance and excitement of us making it back to Eden Park for the second year in a row to contest the final.
Left wing Luron Iosefa was deservedly awarded the Man of the Match award, although he was one of a number of players who had stood out in this match and he was the first to admit that he was able to do what he did because of his teammates and the entire teams’ commitment throughout the 70 minutes.
On the other side of Auckland, over in Pakuranga, St Kent’s played host to Sacred Heart in the other semi-final and ran out winners by a slightly bigger margin than we had beaten Grammar. This has set up an enticing final next weekend at Eden Park between the two teams that finished in 1st and 2nd place after the round-robin matches. We are very grateful for all the support we have received from family, friends, sponsors and supporters throughout the season. We are hopeful that we will get your support one more time next weekend as we try to erase the memory of our one-point loss last year in the final and complete what has been a very tough and challenging season, with the desired result in the Auckland 1A final.
King’s 14 – 31 Sacred Heart
Last match of the round and for the year for the U15s side who are coming off a solid win last week defeating Aorere College.
However, coming up against a well-structured Sacred Heart side who are sitting 3rd place in the points standings, King’s needed to play their best game.
Conditions were great for rugby, kicking off and both sides testing each other out around different parts of the field. Sacred Heart scoring their first two tries leading 12 – 0 with 15 minutes remaining.
King’s had to work hard for their first try by Francis Manuleleua, 12-7 with 2 minutes until half time. Hoping to hold this deficit into half time King’s lost concentration in the rucks, Sacred Heart steals the ball in a strong tackle and they race under the posts to score leading into the half 19-7.
Early in the second half our lineouts were not functioning and too many errors saw us camped in our own 22 zone, Sacred Heart scoring out wide 24-7. King’s needed to bounce back, however, Sacred Heart were too clinical in different parts of the field which scored their 5th try of the morning leading 31-7.
It was a last-minute try from Jarius Iosefa breaking the line and sprinting away to score under the posts. Final score 31-14. A well-deserved win by Sacred Heart.
King’s 10 – 32 Sacred Heart
With a semi-final spot already secured against the same opponent, Sacred Heart. The 1R side headed into Saturdays game with an experimental line up. We headed to the Sacred number 1 field, that had seen better days but we didn’t let that put us off. Again our start was the issue as we allowed Sacred easy field territory and plenty of possession. After a few raids at our line, they could only come away with 3 points. However shortly after they chanced their arm and crossed for the first try of the game. Down 8 nil, we still had plenty of fight in us as we got some luck our way and marched back down the paddock, setting up shop inside their 22. A few more penalties and a quick tap and go from number 10 Caide Davis got us our first meat pie of the match. However we were then pinned down in our 22 as we tried to run it from our red zone. It didn’t work out well as some messy passes hit the deck, Sacred picked up the scraps dotting over to score. Sacred again crossed over late in the half to take a commanding lead into the break.
We knew we weren’t out of the game, with only a couple of soft tries separating us. We came out of the blocks firing, again finding plenty of territory inside the Sacred half. Playing to our strength of quick second phase ball we finally broke down the Sacred defence with Tim Leach crossing over for another try, making it back to back weeks he has grabbed himself 5 points. Again though with momentum on our side we let it slip allowing Sacred back into the match. A drive over try from them from close range, followed by another let them march away with the game as we went down 32-10. Tough game to take, however the score doesn’t overly reflect the closeness of the two sides. The boys showed that we can match it with them and that if we come with the right focus we can give them a real scare. A big week of training ahead as we take what we learnt from Saturday into the semi-final against them at the same place.
King’s 26 – 7 Howick College
5A finished the round robin competition in second place last week after winning six and losing one through June and July. This guaranteed a home quarter-final match vs Howick College who have proven quite a difficult opposition this year.
King's also went into the knock-out stages with quite a few boys either carrying injuries or unable to take the field altogether; including captain Nathan Robinson. A good build up this week, and keen awareness of the importance of not slipping up after all the good work, meant the boys were ready to go on Saturday morning.
An excellent performance from the entire team resulted in a very satisfying 26-7 win. The forwards were immense and were lead by a towering Taigo Chapman and Hamish Dalziel in the lineouts and pinpoint accuracy from hooker Charles Rasmusen. Jack Proctor, Will Geldard and Harry Marsh were the usual rampaging loosies and the rest of the forwards never took their foot off the Howick throat in a consummate forward performance.
New 10, Ben McCutcheon, had a great game and marshalled the backline beautifully with the assistance of 9, and new captain, Joe Taylor. This allowed the outside backs with Fergus McLeay and James Charteris to pounce and strike on Howick backline weaknesses.
Tries were scored by Fergus (2) and Joe with Dominic de Latour putting the finishing touches to the game.
A result that pleased the coaching staff very much. Sacred Heart await us in the semi-final.
King’s 24 – 10 Dilworth
King’s travelled up the motorway on a glorious day knowing a victory would end the league season unbeaten ten from ten.
A couple of changes needed to be made due to our number eight Harry Grieve being ruled out with stitches at the battle of Glendowie last week, also a late email on Friday night from one of our front row had me change the starting lineup.
I was asked if it was okay to change from field two to Dilworth’s number one field which of course I accepted with relish.
Team talk was easy I spoke to our forwards about letting them know nice and early we were here and to let them feel it.
Gilleece’s eyes lit up when I told him he would be at number eight and to let his opposite number eight know he was there early doors, he did just that and the forwards followed suit.
King’s dominated the first half with our forwards pouring forward, dominating scrums and line outs leading to an Adam Irvine try.
First time this year I've seen our team fire up and take it to them a joy to watch. Another great try by Yanz Chen who burst over to make it 12-0.
Half time 12-3.
Dilworth came out fighting, they are a good well drilled side with a good coach and after sustained pressure scored a try and conversion 12-10.
This just makes our team fire up and a great try by Jack Carrick with a Tom Ogg conversion made it 19-10.
Try of the season in my opinion was scored by Cody Heron who beat a couple of players then kicked and chased to score an outstanding try to make it 24-10.
King’s were on fire on Saturday and it could and should have been many more.
Dilworth coaches spoke to me about my team and what a good side they are, it was pleasing to hear.
Ten from ten what an achievement boys, you'll remember this for a long time.
Semi final Saturday, let's see who we get and take it from there. Let's keep grounded and work hard this week.
Well done boys very proud of you. As always thanks to your parents.
Player of the day Oliver Laity worked like trojan on Saturday and never gives up.
King’s 5 – 51 Sacred Heart
After a loss against top of the table Sacred Heart some weeks ago we always knew it was going to be a tough game. By half time we were trailing 26 – nil.
The second half mirrored the first half with the opposition scoring a few more tries. However, there was one moment of brilliance by wing Myka Newman who showed great skill with an interception.
Score at the final whistle 51 – 5. Thanks to the boys who played well in very challenging circumstances.
King’s 10 – 22 Westlake
In their final game of the season a committed 7A team took the field against Westlake Red. But with several injuries to key members of the forward pack it was always going to be a difficult last game.
Despite this, the 19 young men who turned out on Saturday again played themselves to a standstill. While King’s dominated throughout the game, enjoying over 70% of territory and possession, the opposition’s quicker speedsters were the key difference on the day and were able to turn the few breakouts they had into points on the scoreboard.
While some questionable results in the competition meant that King’s were, before this match, not going to contest the semi-finals, this team has shown they have skill, depth and commitment and have played with a courage and character that augurs well for rugby at King’s in the years ahead.