A message from the Head of Rugby
The bounce of the rugby ball can either go your way or it can go against you, on Saturday it went against the First XV and with it the 1A title slipped from our grasp. It was a great showpiece for the best of school boy rugby in New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday, with a crowd of nearly 9000 in attendance thoroughly entertained by the two teams on show. Congratulations to St Peter’s College for the victory.
Thank you to those families, Old Collegians and supporters who joined us pre-match for light refreshments at The Kingslander. It was a great atmosphere and brilliant to see such a mix of the King’s community getting excited before the big match. We hope to continue arranging similar functions next season for some of our home and away games. More good news was that we had an excellent online viewing figures for the game on Saturday through our partners at Sideline, who reported just over 1000 King’s viewers watching from across the world. The success of both the semi-final and final viewing figures will allow us to look into how we can provide further opportunities to watch the team next season. Thank you to those who logged on to watch.
For our graduating players, not only in the First XV but across all our teams, it was their last fixture for the college this weekend but all of those players can be immensely proud of their achievements this season, for the players that they have become through their hard work and dedication and also to the young men that they are growing into. We appreciate them and know they will hold King’s dear in their heart for their lifetime.
Congratulations to our 5th grade and 6A team who won at the weekend to continue their journey in the playoffs. This week sees a couple of tough fixtures but both teams are on form looking to continue their fine play.
I will now go into review mode with all our coaching teams and players, looking to generate feedback on how we can improve the programme and how our players can improve their play. I will also look to reach out to parents and our community for feedback also and welcome anyone who has any views (both positive and to improve) to get in touch at the email address below.
Head of Rugby
First XV (1A Final)
St Peter's College
28 - 29
It had been eight years (2010) since the King’s College First XV had played at Eden Park in the final of the Auckland 1A Rugby Championship. With a tight but well-deserved win over Sacred Heart College in the semi-final last week, the team and all our supporters were all very excited about the prospect of returning to Eden Park and taking out the title that we had last won back in 2005. There are many rugby players that have never played rugby on Eden Park, and will never get the chance, so to have the opportunity to play there against St. Peter’s College in the final last Saturday was very thrilling in itself.
Despite showers falling right up until just before kick-off, the field, as you would expect, was in immaculate condition. This is by far the best rugby field in New Zealand and with the sun shining down, and only a slight breeze blowing across the park, the scene was set for what was to turn out to be a very exciting final played in good spirits by two excellent teams willing to play running rugby in order to be crowned Auckland 1A Champions for 2018. There was huge support for both teams with many Old Collegians, sponsors, families, friends, supporters, students and staff all in attendance screaming and shouting for their team. As Manager of the team, I received a phone call from ex-Headmaster Mr. Bradley Fenner just before kick-off, from Australia, to wish the team and management all the very best for the final. This showed the great amount of interest this match drummed up and how much it meant to so many people for our school to have made it to the final.
For just about every match this season we had started well, but we got off to a bad start in the final. From the kick-off, the ball was won, taken into a ruck by our forwards, the ball was passed back to first five-eighth Zarn Sullivan and his clearing kick was charged down. Their halfback dove on the ball to score a try and their kicker converted from out wide for a 7-nil lead. One minute down and already chasing the scoreboard; a position we would normally bounce back from. St. Peters however, seemed more motivated and they came back strong again, using their big forward pack to rumble the ball up the field. They were rewarded with another try and we were now chasing our tails at 12 nil down. Our boys climbed into their work and started moving the ball wide into space as we had done all season. Eventually St. Peters were pushed to the fault and fullback Aidan Morgan converted the penalty to bring us back to 3 – 12. The play surged up and down both ends of the field and eventually St. Peters made good inroads into our defense, once again using their forwards as battering rams to score another try. Fortunately, their kicker was astray again with the conversion, but they held a strong 17 – 3 lead. King’s came back again and St. Peters started to look tired. The ball was moved through a number of phases and eventually right wing Temple Kalepo scored next to the posts. Morgan converted to narrow the margin to just 7 points. Again, we swept back onto attack, St. Peters were offside at a ruck and Morgan once again obliged with the boot and we went into halftime only 4 points behind at 13 – 17, but with lots of confidence that we were right back in the game and that our superior fitness would prevail in the second half.
The second half proved to be very even with both sides scoring two tries and one conversion each. Both of our tries were superb team tries finished off with individual flair and skill by two of our better players on the day – Zarn Sullivan and Lukas Halls. Aidan Morgan also kicked a penalty for us and we were one point behind with five minutes remaining. The last five minutes saw both teams throwing everything at each other to score that killer blow. With two minutes remaining, the ball was moved down the left hand side of the field, Lukas Halls came up to the final defender, chipped superbly over his head and with Morgan on the inside waiting for the ball to bounce up into his arms, it cruelly bounced back towards the touchline and only meters from their try-line. Lukas swooped down to scoop it up, but couldn’t hold onto it, knocked it forward, St. Peters received a scrum, the ball was kicked into touch and all of our dreams and aspirations came crumbling down as the final whistle was blown by the referee.
The bounce of the rugby ball can bring joy and it can also bring regrets. On Saturday it did not bounce our way and we were left regretting what could have been the fairy tale ending to a dramatic and exciting final and a wonderful season. We are all so very proud of the entire squad for what has been a fantastic and memorable season of rugby and what they have all achieved, both individually and also as a team. We have played some scintillating rugby and the boys have been superbly coached by three outstanding and innovative coaches in Mark Kennelly, Kevin Putt and Scott Palmer. These three have been complimented and supported by Strength and Conditioning Coach Scott McLaren and Physio Emile Vollenhoven.
I would like to make mention of one special young man. Che Clark is a Year 10 ‘boy’ and played in every match this season. This is outstanding and all the more special as he is a tight forward. It is rare to have a Year 10 boy playing for the First XV, but this kid will be a star one day and he still has another three years of First XV rugby ahead of him! Che was deservedly awarded his King’s College First XV Cap on Saturday, along with Hooker Waiora Morris for both playing their 14th matches for the First XV this season. Special praise must also be given to Captain Millenium Sanerivi, who has been an outstanding leader and respected role-model for all the younger members of the team. We wish all the Year 13 boys that played their last game for the King’s College First XV last Saturday, all the very best for your future careers and we thank them all for the dedication and commitments that they all made to The Maroon Jersey in their time at King’s College. There is an unspoken understanding between players that ‘The Jersey’ is to be left in a better position than the year before. We can say that this is definitely the case and hopefully next year’s team can go one better than this year to erase the disappointment and hurt of Saturday’s loss.
The team would like to thank everyone who has supported us throughout the season – from the Chairman of the Board Ross Green, to the Headmaster Simon Lamb, to our Sponsors, to the Staff members, to all the families, to the students and all the supporters who turned up each Saturday to watch us play.
Mt Albert Grammar
12 – 10
The lads had a great win against Mt Albert Grammar Second XV 12-10 at their home ground on Saturday. We started the match in fine fashion with quality lineout ball from Laith Hammond and scored a try to Tahu Watson within the first few minutes, conversion was not successful to put King’s 5-0 up.
The game was a bit of an arm wrestle from then on with neither team giving much up and King’s held on to the lead until the last 10 minutes where Mt Albert Grammar scored a converted try and minutes later taking a penalty pushing the score out to 5-10 to them.
With the clock ticking past 80mins, and with the final play of the game the Kings boys struck back with an attacking 80m effort having Sean Robertson scoring beside the posts 10-10 with kick to come.
Mitch Urwin converted the winning try sealing the game 12-10 to let the celebrations begin in what has been a fine finish to the season for the Second XV. We narrowly miss out on the playoffs as other results didn’t go our way, but the squad and coaches are happy with the progress made and the number of tight games we managed to win learning from some tight losses at the start of the year.
De La Salle
10 – 22
Sadly, the final curtain came to a close for the Colts, as they were bundled out by a powerful De La Salle side.
The team did well to equalize near the end of the first half as George Bennett scored after a grubber kick through by right wing Alex Goodwin. We gifted De La Salle opportunities to score on two occasions and this proved the difference in the end. The team fought hard throughout the game but felt the added power of the De La Salle ball runners.
The saddest thing about the game was the non-availability of some squad members due to injury and sickness. They did not get the chance to play alongside their mates one last time. We can reflect on a great season and keep our heads up high. Many thanks to our loyal supporters, the parents. Keep doing what you are doing as your son appreciates you just being there.
To our coach Mr Lynn Hunkin, who has guided and developed the boys’ rugby, you have been awesome.
For the last time we sign out with 1,2,3 KINGS!!
Mt Albert Grammar
10 – 7
King's College 5A entertained Mt Albert Grammar in a quarter final knockout game on Saturday and prevailed 10-7 after a mighty tussle. King's played with the wind in the first half and scored two neat tries while dominating the entire half, despite losing a number of players for various blood issues at the ferocious breakdown points.
The second half saw King's concede a slew of contentious penalties and we spent 20 minutes continuously defending our line. Gallant defence and a desire to not be bested at the collision zone enabled the boys to not concede until the last movement of the game. An amazing defensive performance which should prove very handy training heading into a crunch semi-final against Sacred Heart next week.
Sacred Heart College
28 – 19
After the previous disappointing performance against Macleans last week, it was important for the team to come together and produce a vast improvement in this quarter-final against Sacred Heart College at home on Saturday.
From the outset the first fifteen minutes was a transformation and three nice tries evolved from good structure, forward momentum and some individual brilliance in the backline. The focus during the week was for the forwards to get over the gain line and give space and time for our speedy backs. However, the latter part of this half saw an inconsistent effort allowing Sacred to claw their way back to a 19-12 deficit.
The second half resulted in both sides scoring a try apiece and it was only a penalty to Kings near the end which cemented a 28-19 victory.
The boys can definitely be happy with the result and the opportunity to play in a semi-final, which will be big challenge.
Rosmini College, 7A
24 - 28 (Halftime Score 5 - 21)
Tries: William Olde (2), Jack Elliott, Harry Kaveriri
Conversions: William Crawford (2)
King’s 7A travelled across to Rosmini College again for their semifinal match to be greeted by fine weather but a still very wet in places No 1 Rosmini field. King’s were again slow to hit their straps and like their two previous matches, in a half that saw plenty of attacking and defending by both sides, again found themselves well behind 5 -12 at the half time despite a hard earned and well-deserved William Olde try.
The second half saw King’s looking to repeat their win against Rosmini from two weeks earlier when they turned a 10-22 half time score into a 33-22 victory. But despite tries by Harry Kaveriri, Jack Elliott and another well-deserved try by William Olde and two William Crawford conversions, Rosmini’s defense was resolute and a Rosmini intercept that resulted in a 60-metre runaway converted try dotted down under the posts finally put the game and a final’s berth out of a gallant King’s team’s reach.
Despite the disappointment, this King’s side has developed well over the season and the final 22-strong squad can look back with pride on their season and its results. Anyone who saw them play will be aware that the side contains many players who will mature of the next couple of years to ensure the future strength of rugby at the College.
Special thanks must also go at this time to the King’s parents who have been such committed supporters throughout the season, John McKay and Tim Henwood for their support in training sessions and Saturday warm ups, Scott McLaren and the King’s conditioning team for making sure we were one of the fittest teams in the competition, Head of Rugby David Ross for his valuable coaching input and Head of Sport Jim Potts who negotiated our participation in the North Harbour Competition and regularly liaised with them on the teams behalf. To each and every one of you a huge thank you from a grateful 7A squad!