1ST XV VS AUCKLAND GRAMMAR
LOSS 21 – 24
The First XV went down 24-21 to Auckland Grammar School in their traditional fixture on Saturday.
The game marked the first defeat of this year’s 1A competition for King’s who slid to second on the points table behind Kelston Boys’ High School who have won five from five.
Saturday’s match, in front of a boisterous crowd at Grammar, was a fitting spectacle for one of college rugby’s most storied rivalries.
Grammar hit the lead early and were ahead 14-0 after only 15 minutes before King’s dug deep to get themselves back into the contest.
The First XV hit back with tries to Maikel Tuala and Matthew Monaghan.
Monaghan’s five-pointer via a deft pass from halfback Callum Murray and was due reward for a physical display in the opening spell from the big lock.
Fullback Chicago Doyle added two valuable conversions as the teams went to the break tied up at 14-all.
A penalty for Grammar early in the second stanza saw them edge back in front before King’s took the lead for the first time in the game in the 53rd minute as centre Ali Leiataua crashed over out wide.
Doyle again played a key role in the lead-up and he sent the King’s supporters wild with a clinical conversion from the sideline.
But Grammar weren’t done and they continued to attack and were eventually rewarded with what turned out to the be the match-winning try with about 10 minutes left.
Despite a wave of possession and territory in the dying stages, King’s were unable to turn the pressure into points as Grammar retained the Cooper-Greenbank Cup.
“We just didn’t execute our breaks at all,” King’s co-captain Doyle said after the game.
“Too many errors as well; just basic stuff let us down at the end but I’m proud of the boys for how they played out there. Obviously, it just doesn’t go our way sometimes.”
Doyle said he was particularly pleased with the way the team didn’t drop their heads when they were behind 14-0 early on.
“I was just telling the boys, get out of our half, hold the ball and we’ll be fine.
“I knew that we had it in us. We just had to play our game and not have stupid errors that let them into the game. But, yeah, rough start but we picked it up then fell off a little bit at the end.”
The First XV’s next match is against Saint Kentigern College at King’s on Saturday, 3 July.
2ND XV VS AUCKLAND GRAMMAR
WIN 34 – 15
The week’s build-up around the College set the scene, and our two training dress rehearsals had been executed as best they could be on the Monday and Wednesday afternoon. Friday Night Lights couldn’t have been a better setting for two rival schools playing for the College Rifles Cup. King’s College haven’t won the cup for 17 long years: what better motivation for these players from King’s College to make history.
The players were excited to run out on a Friday night with their school mates cheering them on; the atmosphere was electric. Kick-off saw both teams going at each other toe to toe trying to get the upper hand on the opposition in the early parts of the game. King’s used the width of the field really well going from side to side, but that’s all they were doing, not making metres and playing in the wrong part of the field. However, King’s made a half break down the middle of the field with the crowd cheering them on, they’re in the Grammar territory penetrating their line. A ruck penalty from Grammar saw King’s College go for points, penalty kick converted by Harry Sinclair, 3 – 0 to King’s. Not long after Grammar replied with some of their phase play getting close to the King’s 22metre line, King’s conceded a penalty in the ruck. Grammar converted into points with a penalty kick, 3 – 3 score line tied up. King’s had the ball from a penalty and kicked for the corner for a lineout, a maul followed by a forwards ball close to the line. The ball went out to the backs hitting midfield, with the forwards rumbling the ball close to the line by the posts, some patience from the forwards with low body position, saw Oliver Hatch go over for his first try of the season; his excitement in his try celebration didn’t go unnoticed. King’s lead 10 – 3.
King’s got on a roll again on Grammars 22metre zone, some quick thinking from Joshua Oliver going in close to the line, the ref saw the ball grounded and the crowd goes wild, King’s lead 15 – 3. Grammar had to reply soon with only 7 min left on the clock before half time. Grammar were making a couple of breaks and King’s were on the back foot. Some silky skills from Grammar’s backs saw them go in for their first try in the corner, conversion added King’s lead 15 – 10.
In the 2nd half we started to make some better decisions and playing the territory game, a strong kick return from our backs saw King’s parked in Grammars try line yet again. Again the forwards rumbled it up close and were rewarded with a try to Scott Sheffield-Gray. Then not long after the kick-off, King’s made another long break and loose forward Freddie Forsythe went in for their fourth try. Grammar were shocked with those two quick tries from King’s and started to string a couple of penalties and kick for the corner for a lineout.
An error from King’s College awarded a scrum to Grammar, they were patient and grinded out a try in the corner with some poor defence from King’s. King’s played a good territory game which turned Grammar around all night, causing them to make errors. A scrum 15m out to King’s and some good recycling of the ball from the forwards were rewarded with a try to Sebastian Su’a, King’s College leading 34 – 15. With the time almost over, King’s almost scored to end the game only to be called a forward pass. Full time, the King’s crowd ran on the field to celebrate the first win of the season from three games. Hoping this a good step in the right direction for the foundation of the 2nd XV season ahead.
Tries: Oliver Hatch, Joshua Oliver, Scott Sheffield-Gray, Freddie Forsythe, Sebastian Su’a
Penalty Goals: Harry Sinclair 1 from 1
Conversions: Harry Sinclair 3 from 5
U15 OPEN VS WESLEY COLLEGE
LOSS 13 – 27
The King’s College U15A travelled away for the fourth time in five games to Wesley College on Saturday. Having quite a few backs unavailable due to camp and injury we had to start the game with lock forward Pharaoh Nansen making his debut for the team as starting winger, all our reserves were also forwards so this game was always going to be a challenge.
With an earlier start time Wesley jumped out of the gate fast and ran in two early tries through King’s errors. King’s then responded with a well-executed lineout move which resulted in Qortezz Tuala scoring in the corner. Unfortunately, Qortezz was injured after scoring and was unable to take any further part of the game. Keanu Ezekiela kicked the sideline conversion to move the score to 10 – 7 to Wesley. King’s had the opportunity to tie the game with a penalty in front of the posts, however, the players chose to kick to the corner which never found touch and after multiple phases Wesley scored. A further try to Wesley from another King’s mistake put Wesley in charge at half time leading 20 – 7.
King’s controlled the early stages of the second half resulting in two penalties by Harrison Martin to bring the score to 20 – 13 and momentum swinging our way. Unfortunately King’s were not able to convert any further pressure into points and in the last quarter found themselves defending their try line for most of it. Sustained pressure by Wesley and multiple penalties led to Wesley scoring under the posts and moving the final score to 27 – 13.
Bailey Harris was huge on defence with even the referee and Wesley Coach passing comment after the game on how well Bailey played. Our defence in the last quarter was built on heart, passion and pride; the team put their bodies on the line and given the situation played some good rugby. In the past few games we have been unable to speed the game up and take quick penalties which we need to address with the referee before our next game. Bailey was well supported by many including Taniela Ngata, Flynn Hamilton-Muller, TJ Anae-Paila and Keanu. Young Zion Heiloa Savaka was another to stand out of defence and is consistently playing well each week. Harrison Martin stood out at fullback stopping two possible Wesley runaway tries. Jackson Brown made his debut as halfback and also had a good game. The team needs to work hard on their decision-making on the field, first up tackles, error rate, and speeding the game up by moving the bigger teams around.
We have a big challenge this week at home with quite a few players still being unavailable, playing against top of the table Kelston. We will need as much home ground support as possible.
1R VS AGS
LOSS 8 – 26
Playing on the King’s Number 1 pitch King’s 1R hosted rivals Auckland Grammar. In near-perfect conditions the home side scored the opening points of the game through a Tom Paranthoiene penalty after creating some early pressure.
Grammar soon replied scoring a try by using their strong forward pack to good effect after keeping King’s pegged back in their 22 for sustained periods. Some poor first-up tackling alongside some unforced errors allowed Grammar to build their lead before the half time break.
King’s rallied in the second half playing with more purpose at times in attack and defence in the right areas of the pitch. However, sloppy unforced errors continually let Grammar off the hook and after securing some possession, the visitors stretched their lead again scoring through their forwards from close range.
King’s hit back with try through winger Louie Ballan but Grammar defended resolutely in the final quarter of the game to secure a well-deserved victory.
5A VS SACRED HEART COLLLEGE
LOSS 12 – 14
King's 5A never got to celebrate a deserved win over unbeaten Sacred Heart as a heart-breaking end-of-the-game penalty was converted for a 12 – 14 loss.
Sacred had the better of the first half with more accuracy on the ball. A forwards-orientated try and a penalty had them 0 – 8 ahead at the break. A further penalty started the second half and with the score sitting at 0 – 11 winning the game looked a bridge too far.
The comeback was started by an increased desire to keep the ball in hand and a little more accuracy with our pass-catch game. A quick tap was rewarded after four phases with captain Suede Cowley running untouched in at the corner. Opportunities started to open everywhere as Sacred's fitness seemed to be challenged and again from a quick tap we scored, but this time after some prolonged forward pressure with Ollie Wright muscling his way over. This created a 12-11 lead with five minutes to go.
An exciting end to the game culminated with a penalty and the disappointment of having dominated the 'top team' without getting the spoils. The missed opportunities were numerous but this would still rate as one of the better performances from a team with lots of potential but not lots of results.
Key players to mention were in the forwards Corban Drake and Fin Olde in the loose, while Jack McKay again showed an excellent ability to speed up the game with his halfback play. Nick Tapper was very good both with the ball in hand and goal kicking.
5C VS WESTERN SPRINGS COLLEGE
WIN 29 – 12
This week our dominance at the breakdown was backed up by a slick performance from a new-look backline with the introduction of some new players in key positions. The first half was a tight affair but as the game unfolded the pressure started to tell and an intercept try by Joe Duncan was a turning point. The forwards were ably led by a player of the day performance from Peer Mitchell.
Tries: Joe Duncan (x2), Toby Irvine, Peer Mitchell
Conversion: James Wilson
6A VS SKC
LOSS 5 – 33
The team showed up at St Kent’s a little short of a full team this weekend, however, this didn't stop them from putting in a solid effort, despite the result.
St Kent’s came out firing with a try in the first five minutes which was a wake-up call for King’s. Following this, King’s dominated every part of the game for the next 20 minutes. The forwards set piece kept King’s in the game, with a big shift from the front row which included; Cohen Harding, Evile Tuumatavai and Lachlan Snelling. Momentum could not be converted into points due to simple mistakes and turnovers which was unfortunate for the boys. Another try to St Kent’s on the outside was conceded before half time. Score SKC 14 – 0 KC at the Break.
During the half-time talk, Cohen Harding (C) took the lead and shared his insights on what was a dominant performance from King’s. The team came out firing after half time and took charge of the first 10 minutes. Pressure continued to build with a solid drive off a line out which saw Vernon Harrison pop out the other side. With his head down, he didn't realise he had another 25 metres to go! Surely enough, he put the gas on and dotted down. Score SKC 14 – 5 KC. Playing with 14 men started to take a toll on the boys as St Kent’s rolled on a new team.
A big effort from Oliver Gregory joining every scrum while playing left wing. St Kent’s began to identify the overlap on the outsides, which inevitably lead to three more unanswered tries being scored. Henry Wagstaff went down with a bad head knock on the last play of the game, but played a great game prior to it.
The final score was SKC 33 – 5 KC. Overall, to play a full 60 minutes with 14 men I think King’s showed tremendous heart and kept their heads to the final whistle.
U15R VS AGS B
WIN 36 – 0
The U15R team was originally scheduled to play AGS B team at the Auckland Domain with a very late time of 11.45am, but common sense prevailed and the match was transferred to the Orakei Domain at the more reasonable start time of 10.30am. The field was firm and well-grassed and the weather was overcast but it was a mild and calm day.
The boys got off to a good start, scoring four first-half tries to Ryan Young, Ricco Woodhams and a brace to Johnny Wilson. Ryan Young added two conversions for a well-deserved 24 – 0 lead at halftime.
The second half saw similar domination from our team, maintaining large amounts of possession as well as field position, but we only managed to score a further two tries to Young again and Wilson who completed a personal hat-trick in this match. Young converted a further conversion for a full time score of 36 – 0, that could quite easily have been a lot higher had our discipline been better and our finishing more accurate.
The most pleasing aspect of the match was the defensive effort of the entire team; AGS never looked like scoring a try at any stage of the match.
U14 OPEN VS WESTLAKE BHS
LOSS 12 – 22
King’s started the game defending their line with Westlake missing out on an early try due to a forward pass. After gaining some territory Saia Manu put King’s on the board first with a successful penalty kick. Westlake returned the favour 5 minutes later with a penalty kick of their own, then quickly turned up the tempo of the game.
Despite some brilliant chasing and a try-saving tackle from Joseph Fatuvalu assisted by Charlie Burn, Westlake scored a try from broken play after sustained pressure in our half. The majority of the remainder of the first half saw Westlake testing our defence in our 22. King’s exited well from two lineouts, but were unable to hold off a Westlake try out wide in the last few minutes of the half. The second of their two tries was converted, bringing the half time tally to 17 – 0 to Westlake.
Continuing on the theme of bad starts, the second half began with a midway defensive scrum due to an over-kicked kick-off. Westlake capitalised on the mood by gaining territory and applying pressure in our half but King’s managed to exit consistently from our 22, and slowly turn defence into attack.
A King’s mistake on attack in Westlake’s 22, however, turned possession over to them, and their backs sped down the full length of the field to score a try which was unconverted. The boys managed to reset, and started to build momentum on attack pressuring Westlake into giving away successive penalties.
King’s was rewarded with a try by Saia Manu 23 minutes into the second half which was unconverted by him. Encouraged by the this, team spirit and confidence surged, and after multiple attacks on the Westlake try line resulting in many penalties given, the exasperated referee awarded a penalty try to King’s with less than five minutes to complete the match. Final score was 22 – 12 to Westlake.
As a whole the team is making steady improvements, and although they are extremely competitive in patches, we are yet to convert this into a competition win. Clearly a better start to each half will be a step towards making this happen. Our next match will require us to step up to and embrace the challenge, as Kelston are currently at the top of top of the table and we will be playing them on their home ground.
Tries – Siosaia Manu (1), Penalty Try (1)
Conversions: Saia Manu (0/1)