vs Auckland Grammar School
Lost 19 – 15
On Saturday, the First XV travelled to traditional rivals Auckland Grammar School to play in front of what was estimated to be around ten thousand spectators and the cameras from TVNZ as well as livestreaming on Spark.
The conditions were conducive to running rugby with a slight breeze blowing down the field, with a clear, sunny day and a firm pitch providing ideal conditions for this match to reach expectations that also coincided with the AGS 150th anniversary celebrations.
The occasion was all so familiar between our two schools but this was bigger than just about every match that had gone before and there was also so much on the line as it doubled as a top of the table clash. This was the first ever First XV game to be televised free to air and both TVNZ and Spark stated that they were using this game as a trial run to the Rugby World Cup coming up in a few months’ time.
The planning, training and preparation for this game had gone well throughout the week and our expectations were high, even though we knew this would be a tough encounter. We knew we needed to start well but found ourselves defending our own line for much of the first 10 minutes. Our defence, however, was strong and we repelled wave after wave of blue jerseys attacking both out wide, but especially in the tight with pick and drives.
Eventually, we gave away penalties and the Grammar kicker was able to convert one attempt for a 3 point lead. Our plan to move the ball wide and into space started to take shape and eventually, after several phases of attack, the ball was passed down the short side where the blindside flanker scored our first try. Aidan Morgan was unable to convert from out wide but the signs were there that we were able to crack their defences by playing to our patterns and within our structures. We lacked accuracy at times and also made some defensive errors that allowed AGS back onto attack. Our discipline wavered and they were given another penalty that their kicker converted. Our boys never stopped trying to move them around and from a raid into their half, we were awarded a penalty in front of their posts and Morgan converted to take the score out to 8 – 6. Just before halftime, from another attack by Grammar, we were pushed to the fault and their kicker kicked the penalty to give them a 9 – 8 lead at halftime.
In the second half we definitely had opportunities to crack their defence but did not always take the correct options or lacked accuracy with some of our execution. The game flowed from side to side and from end to end and eventually Grammar was awarded another penalty that their kicker converted to push the score out to 12 – 8. Once again, we came back and eventually got close to their line. From several pick and drives, halfback Dayton spotted a hole close to the ruck and dove across for a well-taken try. Morgan converted to give us a 15 – 12 lead. At this point in the match, it was two tries to nil to us, but our lack of discipline was keeping them in the game. With five minutes to go, we had opportunities to seal the game and had several attempts to cross their line but were unable to finish off these chances. With a now decent wind at their backs, Grammar were able to push us back into our own 22 and when Meihana Grindlay was yellow-carded in front of our posts, Grammar chose to take a scrum, rather than the penalty to draw the game. Their relentless pressure paid off as eventually we were unable to hold them out and a converted try was scored just before fulltime to give them a well-deserved 19 – 15 win.
There was much disappointment and regrets about what could have been, but in big games like this, it is imperative that our players maintain discipline, cool heads and take opportunities that come our way. There were many accolades given to our team and there were many positives to take out of the match, but we do not have the time to now sit back and relax, with the highly-respected St. Kent’s College coming to King’s this Saturday and also SKY TV coming in to televise the match on SKY Sport. Hopefully we will get another bumper crowd to come out and support the team in this must-win encounter.
vs Wesley College
Won 34 – 24
Playing on pitch one for the first time this season, the Second XV notched up a good win 34 – 24 over Wesley College at home on Saturday. Systems fell into place after a good platform set in the forwards by Leo Rusher, Sione Ahokovi, Ethan Cave and Senio Pulega.
It is brilliant to have Bradley Fifita back playing for the College after a long spell out injured and he scored first up closely followed by a score by winger Mogammad Smith early in the game. Tries by Piki Mihinui and Tom Ludbrook followed in the second half while Jason Honour kicking was the difference in the end.
The squad is happy with the progress they have made through pre-season and into these warmup games managing to get two wins out of three fixtures. The real test starts this Saturday against St Peter’s - last year’s co-champions - who will be formidable opponents.
vs Mt Albert Grammar School
Lost 0 – 24
On Saturday the under 15s lads played their first competition game against MAGS who with a sharp back line and big forward pack, we knew it was going to be a physical game. Last week’s win against Aorere didn’t count due to a league reconstruction and with a few boys out from injury they needed to be sure to bring their A game on the King’s number 2 to beat this strong side.
King’s kicked off first and the boys rattled them lead by Jarius Iosefa making some huge tackles along with Trey Alatini causing MAGS to lose a bit of confidence to attack up front and unfortunately due to quick hands from the MAGS backline they scored in the corner. From then on MAGS had a lot of territory and possession in our 22 and unfortunately due to good line speed they charged down a kick in our 22 scoring under the posts extending the lead to 12 – 0 to MAGS. The lads kept their heads up and kept battling and physicality in the rucks from Amone Wolfgramm and Robin Couly kept MAGS having to work hard.
The second half started with MAGS scoring an early try due to a great soft ball to their second five. King’s suddenly spent a long time in MAGS 22 but failed to execute which summed up King’s day, we were able to put pressure on but failed to find the points. MAGS scored again in the last minute and the game finished at 24 – 0 to MAGS.
It was a very physical game and credit to MAGS as they played a well-structured game and really tested us on defence and thank you to all the supporters that went along.
Jonty Willis, Year 10 Selwyn
vs Auckland Grammar School
Lost 7 – 15
Kings 1R had their first competition game of the season, kicking off with a clash against arch rivals Grammar at home. A steady start had us winning the upfront battle allowing plenty of room on the flanks. A mistake from Grammar and quick thinking from Callum McKay lead to a 50m runaway try against the run of play. His quick thinking of playing to the whistle and picking up the loose scraps got us on the scoreboard. With a few opportunities late in the half that we didn’t take, we had a 7 – 0 lead at the break.
Grammar came back into the match with a penalty right in front of the sticks. The momentum started to shift towards the visitors. A clever kick behind our defensive line lead to their first try of the game with their winger having too much pace and scoring in the corner. Another try quickly after had Grammar extending their lead. We fought hard in the second half to try and get back into the game, but again a lack of fitness and silly errors cost us in the end as we went down 15 – 7.
We received some great news this week that our match will be live on Sky vs St Kent’s in a double header. Brilliant for the boys to have a big occasion to focus on at training this week and to put in hard work to ensure we represent the College to the best of our ability.
vs Howick College
Won 46 – 5
5A welcomed Howick College to King’s College for another early season non-comp match on Saturday.
King's got off to a very fast start and had pleased coaches after scoring two tries in the first five minutes. The backline toyed with Howick throughout the first half and scored at will despite constant personnel changes. The half time score of 34 – 0 was good value after bossing most of the 30 minutes. The only downside was the lack of set piece opportunities to practice some moves.
The second half was a much more dour affair and the spark went out of the game with Howick intent on just closing down the game wherever possible. Despite the lacklustre second 30 minutes, it was good, hard going that the boys probably needed in preparation for Auckland Grammar next week. A final score of 46 – 5 was probably a little shy of what was expected, but still a pleasing morning outing.
Monty Hare at centre was a standout in the backline while the entire front row of James Tattersfield, Charles Rasmusen and Aubrey Hunt had their best games of the season.
vs Mt Albert Grammar School
Won 24 – 19
King’s 5B won 24 – 19 in what turned out to be a game of two halves, King’s dominated the first half and were on the scoreboard early with two quick tries through good handling and running in the wide channels and found themselves 24– 0 up going into the break with the highlight a fantastic solo try by our first five.
Mt Albert Grammar came out firing with two quick unanswered tries however some great defensive work by Ollie Laity, Yanz Chen and Cain meant we held on in a tough, good spirited game.
Stand out player of the day was Tom Ogg who controlled the backs with his communication, work ethic and passion.
vs Auckland Grammar School
Lost 0 – 55
The 6A rugby team continue to show resilience in difficult circumstances.
A number of injuries and a bout of sickness going around the College meaning the team’s numbers are stretched at this moment in time but the players who have stood up have represented the College with great heart over the past two weeks.
Due to the situation it has been a struggle to build teamwork and develop basic skills. However, the students who played against a very strong and well-drilled Auckland Grammar side battled hard.
Jett Mueller and William Olde in the forwards worked hard at keeping the pack focused when they could’ve let their heads drop. James Ford and Liam Denny in the backs made a few good breaks. Special mention is the determination of Max Liebmann who never gives up and shows great courage.
Thank you to parents for your continued support and patience. 55 – 0 a loss to King’s.
vs Kaipara College
Won 47 – 10
At home for the first time this season, Saturday saw 7A back up their first up 34 – 0 win against Orewa with an even more impressive 47 – 10 win over Kaipara College.
Again a dominant forward pack set the platform for an improving backline and after some unrelenting forward pressure on the Kaipara try line, Will Smith opened the scoring in the eighth minute with his typical physical halfback style and with Captain Lachie Palmer’s conversion, King’s set up an early 7 – 0 lead.
Some stoic defence from Kaipara took the clock out to almost 20 minutes before King’s were again able to add to their tally when Oliver Wright was duly rewarded for his constant aggressive work with an outstanding try. Converted by Jack McKay, King’s led 14 – 0.
Just four minutes later, prop Alex Grant was rewarded for his hard work and Lachie Palmer’s accurate boot took the score to 21 – 0.
To ensure the first half finished on a high note and not wanting to be outdone by the other forwards, flanker James Wilson finished off his outstanding first half with a try and Jack McKay converted to take the halftime score to 28 – 0.
In a mirror image of the previous week, the second half saw King’s start to rest a little on their first half lead and it wasn’t long before Kaipara sensed a potential change in King’s defensive pressure. 10 minutes into the half, a well-placed kick behind the King’s backline saw Kaipara open the second half with an unconverted try.
However, the wake-up call was heeded and almost immediately, Charlie McKay, who had another outstanding game, brought some restored balance to the game with the first of his two tries. Again, the secure boot of Lachie Palmer added the additional two points and the score pushed out to 34 – 5.
With some ill discipline starting to creep into their game, King’s soon found themselves substantially adding to their tackle count via an increasing number of penalties that helped bolster Kaipara’s confidence and saw King’s spend more time in their own half than should have been the case.
After one too many isolated runs, King’s again turned over hard won possession and were punished by a second Kaipara try that only just went unconverted.
But the following behind the try line talk seemed to be enough to restore the team’s focus and shortly after, lock Henry Kaye, who had another outstanding game, pushed the score out to 39 – 10.
With just four minutes to go, Charlie McKay put the finishing touches to his exceptional performance with his second try, duly converted by Lachie Palmer.
All in all, a good performance, but with room for improvement still, next Saturday’s match against the competition leaders Westlake Green at Westlake will be a test to look forward to.