A message from the Head of Rugby
Another Saturday and another great day of King’s College rugby was on show from our teams across Auckland, culminating in a tense and action packed First XV match vs Sacred Heart College which was beamed across the country, live on Sky Sports. I was fortunate to attend the pre-match function where our former All Black captain Ian Kirkpatrick talked passionately about how his time at King’s helped him achieve so much in his life and how thankful he was for the experiences. It was an honour to spend some time in his company.
With a full week in the role as Head of Rugby, it has been great to get out and watch all the teams train through the week and prepare for their upcoming matches. I have coached some of the lower grade teams as well as refereeing on Saturday morning in a fast paced 7A match - I will have to improve my fitness to keep up with those lads in the future.
Well done to those teams that won their respective fixtures at the weekend, but it is important to remember that our success across the teams should not be simply measured in the win-loss column but also by factors such as how our students are enjoying their experience, how hard they are working to achieve their goals, improving their performance from the previous week, how have they handled adversity and what did they learn?
Thank you to those parents and supporters who have been in touch to introduce themselves and provide some feedback on rugby at King’s. I look forward to continuing to meet as many of you as possible over the coming weeks.
Head of Rugby
Sacred Heart College
17 – 17
The King’s College First XV played its third away match in four games today, and travelled across town to play traditional rivals, Sacred Heart College, in front of the Sky TV cameras for the televised live coverage on the Sky Rugby Channel. This was our tenth match playing Sacred Heart College for the Kirkpatrick- Fitzpatrick Cup. Before today’s match, the ledger stood: Sacred Heart 5 wins, King’s College 4 wins.
Light showers fell before the match commenced but the sun then came back out and there was a strong wind blowing straight down the ground. The field was heavy underfoot, but the conditions were still ideal for playing running rugby. King’s captain Millenium Sanerivi won the toss and chose to play into the strong headwind in the first half. The boys started off at a frenetic pace, held onto the ball for multiple phases then moved the ball wide to centre Lukas Halls, who did well to finish off a well-taken try in the left-hand corner. Fullback Aidan Morgan was unable to convert from the sideline but this was the best start to any of our games this season.
Sacred Heart College slowly clawed their way back into the game and created pressure inside our 22metre. From a scrum, their backs sliced through to score next to our posts. The try was converted, and Sacred Heart College held a narrow 7 – 5 lead. King’s went back on attack inside Sacred Heart College’s half and eventually the referee penalised them for being offside at a ruck. Aidan Morgan kicked the penalty and King’s was back in front 8 – 7. Using the strong wind, Sacred Heart College forced us back inside our 22metre and created pressure that eventually ended up with them scoring a well-executed second try from a crosskick, that was converted by their kicker to give them a 14 – 8 lead.
King’s needed to score next and after several strong plays where the ball went from one side of the field to the other, a Sacred Heart College player was offside at a ruck, and Aidan Morgan stepped up to kick his second penalty to close the gap to just three points. Just before half time, Sacred Heart College was back inside our 22metre when one of our players was penalised for a high tackle. Their kicker converted the penalty from out in front of our posts to end the first half 17 – 11 with King’s in front. There was no panic from our coaches at halftime as we felt the wind was perhaps worth 10 – 15 points if taken advantage of. We commenced the second half well, with first five-eight Zarn Sullivan, time and again, pushing Sacred Heart College back inside their own half with raking kicks. Sacred Heart were penalized on several occasions and from two of these, captain Millenium Sanerivi chose to take the points. Aidan Morgan twice converted penalties and the scores were tied at 17 all.
With only minutes remaining, Sacred Heart College threw everything at us, but our defence held strong and we maintained our discipline. In the last play of the game, the ball was passed back to the Sacred Heart College’s first five-eight who tried a drop goal, but the ball sailed wide of the posts and the referee blew the whistle for full-time. At that moment, there was a stunned quiet around the ground as both teams and their supporters sensed the disappointment of not winning, but then also the relief that we had not lost either. To secure a draw at Sacred Heart College was a satisfying result, and although we may have regrets about what might have been, after four tough rounds we have two wins, a draw and a loss. Our season is still very much alive, and we will take many positives from this game, but also much to work on and improve before we head across to 'The Cage’ to play Saint Peter’s College next Saturday.
The team is very grateful for the fantastic support that we received today, and it was great to see many Old Collegians in attendance amongst others which included several of our major sponsors, John Bayley, Fiona Reeves, ex-Black Cap Hamish Marshall, ex-All Black Daniel Braid, Angus MacDonald and his father Hamish MacDonald, and of course Ian Kirkpatrick who had flown up especially from Gisborne, to present the Cup to the Sacred Heart College and King’s College captains, with the result being a drawn match.
Auckland Grammar School
8 – 15
Scorers: Max Web, Sam Vatileani
King’s College Second XV played their traditional foe Auckland Grammar School in true fashion: hard, fast and no holding back. King’s got off to a good start with the forward pack dominating their bigger pack, with great runs from Tahu Watson, Tom Ludbrook and Laith Hammond.
Tireless defence from Harry Lee, Ryan Gordon, Fraser Hardy and Molitoni Toetuu kept Auckland Grammar School on their toes. With Ethan Stuart, Sean Roberton and Trent Foaafo forming a new midfield backline combination, they were always a threat near the line, making numerous breaks. Great service by Roanis Lamond playing his first game as half back.
Max Webb looked dangerous on attack with Trent Tairoa and Piki Mihinui were working well. King’s took early points with Max Webb kicking a 40metre penalty into the wind. Auckland Grammar School hit back straight away with a converted try and penalty, going into half time 10 - 3 up.
A lack of concentration by the boys shortly after halftime meant Auckland Grammar School pushed ahead 15 - 3. Then the fight back began. King’s emptied the bench and put super subs Loui Whata, Amorangi Kuka, Jason Honour, Sam Vatileani, Trent Tairoa and Lawrence Ualesi on. The game turned, and King’s built phase after phase, finally with Sam Vatileani scoring in the left-hand corner to bring it back to 15 - 8 when the final whistle blew. There was a few missed chances but if the lads can be more patient and reduce our error rate we will have a very successful season. Well done boys, well done supporters.
Sacred Heart College
13 – 15
King’s travelled to east Auckland to face Sacred Heart College on a fine morning, if not a little breezy. Tinirau Rairi opened the scoring with a well-taken try, after the forwards gained dominance to create space out wide.
Astute kicking from Stuart MacCalister put pressure on the Sacred Heart College back three with strong chases from the midfield of Alex Goodwin and Zachary Limbrick-Jones. Tim Leach and Callum McKay worked tirelessly in the engine room all game. A dummy sold by a Sacred Heart College forward gave them a soft try right on half time.
Caide Davis kicked a penalty and further on George Bennett scored a try to stretch the lead out to 13 - 5.
However, the big Sacred Heart College forwards began to run hard and suck the juice out of a tiring King’s team. They replied with two tries, one right on full time.
Mount Albert Grammar
5 - 24
The boys have been improving in each game leading to the Mount Albert Grammar under 15s game. We knew we were in for a challenge and it was a good indicator of how we are tracking to date, before we kick off our season after Queens Birthday weekend.
The first half saw us defend well at times, however in the crucial times when we needed to go low and didn't we got punished. Mount Albert Grammar scored early in the game and then got an intercept try to be up 12 - 0 at halftime. We didn't do too well in our set piece, so we weren't able to use the wind and play territory.
In the second half we managed to build a few phases and the team were rewarded with a great try by Xavi Taele. Not long after that, we had broken them again and Xavi looked like he was in for a second try but got denied as his foot was out before he grounded the ball.
In the final 10 minutes, Mount Albert Grammar put the pressure on and scored a further two tries to end on 5 – 24.
There were some good learnings and we look forward to meeting again in the competition. A couple of boys who stood out in the game were Xavi Taele and Seb MacDonald.
Auckland Grammar School
34 – 19
Tries: Josh Anga (x2), Jarrod McKenzie (x2), Luke Fenton, Pum Supachaisakron
Conversions: Manasa Kubuabola (x2)
This was an excellent performance after several tough games. The boys were able to produce very good phase play with the forwards working hard to retain possession, to give the backs good front foot ball. This resulted in six excellent tries. Work still needs to be done on our defence as we let in some soft tries after holding Auckland Grammar School scoreless for most of the game.
Saint Peter’s College
46 – 0
Tries: Fergus McLeay (2), Conner Lindsay (2), Ben Snell, Ben McCutcheon, Charlie Wrapson and Taigo Chapman
Conversion: Nathan Robinson (3)
5A continued to make solid progress this week with a comprehensive 46 - 0 win over Saint Peters College at the Domain. It was very pleasing to see that a lot of the structure and groundwork at the ruck has improved since the last outing. Some excellent set piece tries made for a happy coach and captain and the intensity at the breakdown showed improvement.
It was great to see our loose forwards ranging out wide, which is credit to the tight forwards hard work. The backs created many chances and just need to straighten the line some more to ensure greater success. We are looking forward to the first competition game in two weeks’ time.
Saint Peter’s College
0 – 5
In what proved to be a game of two halves, Saint Peter's College stole victory from an equal King's team on a wet day at the Auckland Domain.
Starting with an early first half try, King's had little possession, meaning defence was tested. However, again and again the strong Saint Peter's attack, propelled by strong runners, was stopped and from a whole half in our 22, only five points was the difference.
King's started strongly to the second half, and much like the first half, one team dominated possession. This time the boys spent much of the half against the fierce Saint Peter's College defence, however no breakthrough could be found.
At full time, the score was just 0 - 5, a score that reflects a good game that King's were unlucky not to win.
19 – 31
With an unusually late morning start and strong winds, Howick College kicked off and took advantage, scoring early to achieve 0 - 5 to Howick. King’s were quick to respond, with a good strong run by Gautum Malhotra eventuating with a converted try 7 - 5 to King’s. With the advantage of the wind at their backs, Howick College scored twice more, 19 - 5 to Howick. However, with great composure captain Harry Grieve kept the lads focused and King’s were able to keep their heads up with a converted try before half time by Luca Seerden.
The second half continued to be a battle and Howick College’s swift backline managed to score twice more, with King’s scoring a well-earned converted try by Harry Grieve. Final score was a loss to King’s 19 - 31.
20 – 15
Tries: Jack Elliott, Freddie Forsythe, Corban Drake and Toby Tasker
In their last home game of the round robin stage of the competition, King’s College 7A broke their season duck, taking out a hard-fought match against Rosmini College 20 – 15.
Playing into the wind in the first half, King’s forwards were quick to dominate the Rosmini College pack and it wasn’t long before halfback Jack Elliot was able to turn their hard work into a 5-point lead following some nifty footwork from the back of a ruck.
The forward pack was well lead by captain Taniora Henwood with Henry Kaye, (who five minutes before kick-off stepped in for hooker Thomas Stewart who was not well enough to take the field), having another outstanding day. Henry’s commitment to the team has seen him play in three different forward positions in three different matches and his commitment to the team is something to admire.
Number eight, Toby Tasker, just back from injury, was another standout and William Olde and Freddie Forsythe again had outstanding matches with Forsythe adding another try to his tally for the season
Charlie McKay took on anything within range and earned numerous admirers for his tenacity and grit until he was subbed off injured, midway through the second half.
Felix Moran and Charlie Webb, (the latter playing on for the full match with an injured shoulder that may well see him out for a week or so), made up the rest of the eight who turned in a very impressive forward pack effort. With fullback Corban Drake adding a backline move try to the tally, King’s lead 15 – 0 at the halfway mark.
With the help of the wind and some very clear instructions, it wasn’t long before a Toby Tasker try took the King’s side out to a 20-point lead.
With the lead now reasonably comfortable, several the backline were given a well-deserved break and some fresh faces returning after injury were able to get their heads back into competitive rugby for the first time in many weeks.
But with Big House music exhaustion starting to show in the forward pack, it wasn’t long before Rosmini College found a chink in the King’s defensive armour and were able to score their first try. Buoyed by their success they started to gain confidence and two tries later were sitting just 5-points away from a draw.
Thankfully time wasn’t on Rosmini College’s side and a very tired but happy King’s 7A went across to thank their now nervous supporters with a 20 - 15 win.