A message from the Head of Rugby
Having only one game on Saturday was a strange experience, but I am sure a welcome break for many of our players who got to spend time with family, away from the pitch, which is always important.
However, the First XV had one of their hardest tests of the season thus far, playing Saint Peter’s away, who are top of the 1A league. It was an outstanding performance from the squad, against the unbeaten home team, and was great to see their ambition and will to win which allowed them to run out comfortable winners.
I have worked closely with the coaches and teams this week to look to improve our training sessions with some different methods and structures. This has been met with very positive feedback. On the horizon I am looking to bring many our rugby community together to discuss King’s style of rugby and how that will go to informing our strategic planning for the remainder of the season and into next.
This coming week sees all team returning to action, rested and rejuvenated with tough fixtures at home and across the city. Saturday also sees the All Blacks first test match of the season against a traveling French side. A great tip for all our young players when watching the best in the world play on TV, is to closely watch the player who plays in their position, watch what he does, where he does it, the roles and responsibilities of that position. It is a great opportunity to learn from the best and for us to encourage them to play like that in their next game.
Head of Rugby
Saint Peter's College
32 - 12
We have had one of the hardest draws for the start of the season since I can remember, with four away games and only one home game in our first five rounds. To add to the challenge, all five teams were top four contenders, based on last season’s results, pre-season results and also experience and expectations. Had we been asked before the season started, if we would accept 16 competition points from the first five rounds, we would have definitely said yes. So, to see that we have navigated our way through the first five rounds with three wins, a draw and a loss, is very satisfying and leaves us in a positive situation as we reach mid-way through our competition.
Saint Peter’s College have been a bogey team for us in recent years with wins hard to come by. The last two years have seen us lose 12 – 13 both years - very disappointing results to take. So, the motivation to rectify the result and come out on top, was taken on by everyone involved in our team, from all the players as well as management. We were very happy to be playing on the synthetic surface in ‘The Cage’ at Saint Peter’s as we consider ourselves a fast and fit side who like to move the ball around and run teams off their feet. With a strong wind blowing straight down the field, the decision was made to take the wind in the first half and try to rack up as many points as we could in the first half and then hold onto the ball in the second half.
Two areas where we were not accurate last week was our scrums and lineouts. Under the guidance of forwards coach Scott Palmer, a lot of hard work was put in this week by our forwards and with a much-improved performance in both areas yesterday, the pack was able to supply a lot more quality ball for our backs who have been a major force this season. Once again, the team started strongly and quickly dominated field position with some accurate and intelligent kicking. A penalty was soon awarded when a Saint Peters player was offside at a ruck and fullback Aidan Morgan kicked the penalty for a 3 – 0 lead. Soon after, the ball was moved back and forth and with their defence split, Morgan was able to score unopposed and then converted his try for a 10 – 0 lead. King’s went straight back on attack and when Morgan kicked ahead, he was taken out by their fullback, who was yellow carded and allowed him to kick his second penalty for a 13 – 0 lead. Winger Temple Kalepo came very close to scoring a try soon after but was deemed to have placed his foot into touch as he dove in at the corner. Saint Peter’s then capitalised on some silly errors and inaccuracy from our players and were able to score a converted try to bring them back into the game 13 – 7. Just before halftime, King’s was awarded a penalty, first five-eight Zarn Sullivan kicked into the corner and from a lineout drive by the forwards, prop Leandro Vakatini scored, Morgan converted again, and King’s held a 20 – 7 halftime lead.
We knew that we would have to maintain our discipline and hold onto the ball in the second half as Saint Peter’s would capitalise on the strong wind advantage and make us pay. Our defence this season has been a strength and yesterday our boys once again stood up and defended with passion and vigour, led by captain Millennium Sanerivi, openside flanker Weropuna Witiki and second five-eight Isa’ako Enosa. Aidan Morgan kicked another penalty to take us out to 23 – 7 but then Saint Peter’s captain Niko Jones (son of Sir Michael Jones) set up a try for Saint Peter's, but that was to be the last points scored by the opposition. We finished in beauty with two further tries to both wingers Meihana Grindlay first, and then Temple Kalepo to seal the win 33 – 12 and pick up the extra bonus point for scoring four tries.
We were delighted with such a resounding win, especially away from home against the previously undefeated leaders of the competition. We now look forward to two home matches against Aorere College next Saturday and then traditional rivals Auckland Grammar School the following week. We would like to thank all those who came along to support us on this long weekend.