1st XV VS AUCKLAND GRAMMAR SCHOOL, KC 32 - 34 AGS
The rain came down on the morning of the game, as it had done over the previous 24 hours, but miraculously, from mid-morning, the skies turned blue and the sun came out. And so too, did the supporters from both teams to support their schools and players in the most traditional and long-standing of all Auckland schools’ First XV matches. It was estimated that there would have been between 4,000 and 5,000 people in attendance and of course the SKY TV cameras and commentators – including Old Collegian and Blues Hooker James Parsons (Selwyn, 2000-04) – were also there to allow households throughout the country to watch this highly anticipated top-of-the-table clash between the first and second-placed teams.
Grammar kicked off playing into a steady breeze and re-gathered from the kick-off and started at a frantic pace, holding onto early possession and maintaining field position to put us under huge pressure. However, from one of their attempts to move the ball wide and completely against the run of play, our young Year 11 midfielder Francis Manuleleua intercepted the pass and ran 70 metres to open the scoring for King’s. First five-eighth Max Webb converted from out wide and we held a 7 – 0 lead.
From the kick-off, Grammar again re-gathered the ball and went straight back onto attack inside our 22m. One of our players was deemed offside at a ruck and the Grammar kicker converted to bring the score to 7 points to 3. From this point on, our backline went to work and with our forward pack dominating the scrums and providing quality possession, we were able to score three more superbly executed tries to fullback Chicago Doyle (2) and lock Matthew Monaghan. Webb was only able to convert one of these tries, but we had already picked up the offensive bonus point for scoring four or more tries.
Grammar had no answer to our slick backs, however, they had a dominant lineout and managed to get down inside our 22m on several occasions. On two of these occasions, their forward pack used the pick-‘n’-drive effectively and scored two well-deserved tries; both of which were converted, and after 35 minutes, we turned around to play into a now stiff breeze up by 24 – 17, but brimming with confidence.
We started the second half the way we had ended the first and after two minutes, silenced the very vocal Grammar supporters by scoring another fabulous try to blindside flanker Che Clark. Unfortunately, the conversion missed but we now held a 12-point lead. It was at this point in the game that there was one of several crucial moments. We were awarded a penalty in a fairly reasonably-kickable position. However, the attempt was unsuccessful and then the match went back and forth with both teams creating opportunities, but stout defence from both teams saw the scoreboard remain the same for some time.
In the second half, our execution and discipline, that had been very good in the first half, started to wane. Grammar utilised the wind at their backs to play field possession well and once again, their forward pack led the way and for the third time, they were rewarded with another try next to our posts, that was duly converted by their kicker to close the gap to just five points. We continued to apply pressure and create opportunities but lacked accuracy to finish them off. We were awarded another penalty and Manuleleua converted this one and we entered the final five minutes leading by 32 – 24.
The ascendancy over the last five minutes then swung in Grammar’s favour. We still held onto a narrow one-point lead and the message was to play down their end of the field as they had never looked like scoring a long-range try at any point in the match. From a ruck, one of our players gave away a silly penalty near the halfway, that allowed them to kick for touch inside our 22m and then they went back to what had been successful for them throughout the match – pick-and-drives. With time almost up on the clock, they rumbled towards our line, one of our forwards was deemed offside at the ruck, a penalty was awarded to Grammar and the player was also sent to the sin bin. Their kicker was again on-target with his attempt and Grammar, for the first time in the match, took a two-point lead.
In the final minute, we threw everything at them but another penalty was awarded to them at the breakdown, the ball was kicked into touch and Grammar had come back from the jaws of defeat to win the match 34 – 32 and retain the Cooper-Greenbank trophy that is contested between our two schools.
Grammar picked up the five points for the win to move to the top of the table and we secured two bonus points to slip back to second equal with St. Peters and St. Kent’s – all two points adrift of Grammar. Although the defeat was a very bitter pill to swallow, there were still a lot of positives to come out of the match, particularly the five wonderful tries we scored.
The challenge now for the coaches, is to get the boys back up and prepared for our next challenge in the shape of Liston College, whom we host here at King’s next Saturday. We are very grateful to all those that came out to support our team last weekend and hopefully we can repay their loyalty with a good win next weekend before we travel across to pre-season favourites St. Kentigern’s the following week.
2nd XV VS SACRED HEART COLLEGE, KC 8 - 22 SHC
The game was played on the #2 ground at Sacred Heart with a strong, cold breeze blowing across the field with intermittent showers.
King’s received the kick-off, played some phase rugby until a mistake was made and from then on were under constant pressure from SHC. Sacred Heart scored very well-worked tries after 7 and 14 minutes which were both converted. The few forays that King’s had into the SHC half were dealt with by their defence. They also kicked a penalty to round out their scoring for the half at 0-17 for SHC.
The second half was a tighter tussle with enterprising play from both sides backed up with solid defence. Trey Alatini kicked a penalty after 11 minutes after a concerted time on attack. SHC scored another try but King’s had the final say in the game with a well-worked team try that started from a counter-attack on our 22 metre line and finished with Caleb Pearson scoring after some great inter-passing from the team.
This game showed why a well-drilled and skilled SHC team is currently leading the championship. Hopefully the team can take the learnings from this and get themselves ready for another tough game. Scott Sheffield-Gray, Ethan Stuart, and Jonty Willis put in a solid first-half effort trying to stem the flow of the SHC attack. Trey Alatini and Te Kiwa Whatuira helped change the game to a more even tussle in the second half.
We will be playing AGS this coming Friday night at College Rifles Rugby Club for the College Rifles Cup. Kick-off is at 7.15pm.
1R MAROON VS ST PETER'S, KC 8 – 7 SPC
The 1R Maroon side made it three wins in a row on Saturday beating a resilient St Peter’s side. Despite having the upper hand in the set piece and at times in the loose, King’s failed to make the most of scoring opportunities throughout the game. Some sustained pressure and good interplay between the St Peter’s backs and forwards allowed them to score the first points of the game mid-way through the first half. This seemed to galvanise King’s and they soon responded through an excellent lineout maul which saw Jack Gilleece dot down for the score which was unconverted.
The score stayed at 7-5 with the visitors leading for much of the second half as fatigue and errors kept creeping into the King’s game and stifling any continuity. However, captain Nathan Robinson successfully slotted a penalty in the final quarter and King’s managed the game well in the closing stages to sneak home for the win. MVP: Jack Gilleece.
1R GOLD VS WAIHEKE HIGH SCHOOL, KC 30 – 5 WHS
On Saturday the 1R Gold team took on a young Waiheke side at King’s. Unfortunately, due to the lack of Waiheke boys the game was changed to 10-a-side and 20-minute halves on short notice.
This led to the game having a lot less structure with more kicking and broken play. Nonetheless the boys got up for it and played well. The change in players led to the boys struggling a bit with the fitness as they had more ground to cover. Playing 10 was significantly different to 15, players kicking for corners and box kicking was much more prominent. 10-a-side required more individual brilliance rather than the traditional building of phases.
It took a while for the boys to fire up but eventually they did early in the second half and this led to the backline breaking the line more and the forwards getting to the rucks faster and providing Charlie with better ball. Everyone was struggling at the end but were glad to get the win six tries to one.
A few highlights of the game were Jack Proctor showing a brick wall-like defence absolutely smoking some of the Waiheke boys. Great runs from Denny, Adam and Nick also got us onto the front foot topped off by a great defensive display from Charlie ‘Finlay Christie’ Poole.
UNDER 15 OPEN VS SAINT KENTIGERN COLLEGE, KC 10 – 10 SKC
The match kicked off with wet conditions, St Kent’s displayed a strong scrum which gave the King’s forwards a wakeup because from then on, King’s forward pack lead by front rowers Bradley Raina, Oliver Hatch and Alfie Taufa stood up to the challenge as the game progressed.
King’s played a lot of the game in St Kent’s half, creating some good phases from the inside backs and loose forwards combining really well. A strong scrum from King’s gave good ball from Callum to Lachie to put in a great kick in the St Kent’s 5m from goal line, combining with a good kick and chase from Sione Latu pushing the defender into touch.
King’s then secured a solid lineout from Oliver Hatch and Aston Palmer playing it out to the midfield to crash ball, forwards went to work gaining momentum in their pick and go from the ruck, with great strength from Daniel Wyber to score minutes from half time. King’s go up 7-0 after a successful conversion by Lachie Palmer.
Midway through the second half King’s were showing some resilience on their own try line denying St Kent’s any points. King’s were playing the right wet weather rugby. St Kent’s made a break and camped out inside King’s 22m for some time, eventually getting a penalty and converting into points, 10-3. King’s had everything going their way in later parts of the second half, kicks finding space and making tackles at crucial parts of the game.
With five minutes left in the game, St Kent’s made a turnover on the half way line, No. 10 made a great long kick into King’s 5 metres from try line, King’s winger picked up the ball and failed to find touch by skewing his kick across our own try zone. The opposition regained the ball and scored a try to tie the game 10-10. The King’s players were shocked in the actions of their peer.
Captain Brodey Warren tried to compose his players with two minutes left of play to try and get the ball back and win the game, a few errors from both teams in the final play saw the ref call it a day, and the final result was a draw.
This group has shown they belong in this grade and they’re getting better each week. Proud of the players’ efforts all week and on game day.
5A VS ST PETER'S, KC 0 – 36 SPC
This was the second game for the boys. The weather was a challenge but the boys adapted well to the conditions.
Our forwards were led by Blake Bannan with others like Roman, Felix, Mataia and Oliver. Our forward pack worked hard throughout the entire game. However, when points were on offer we failed to execute those scoring opportunities. Also, our decision making from key positions could have been better. The forwards protected our ball and we were always making the advantage line. We were accurate at the breakdowns and dominated in that area, also defensively the forward pack was great.
However, we were short in our backline and it made a difference to the game. We had players that were not confident in the positions they played. Hopefully, we can regroup this week and look for a positive result on Saturday.
5B VS ST PETER'S, KC 27 – 10 SPC
The wet conditions did not help us in the first half as we struggled to hang on to the ball and could not get any momentum. However, we were still able to go into the break 10 – 5 up.
We scored early in the second half but then were pretty much under pressure for most of the half. Staunch defence kept them out until they were able to score 10 minutes from time. The effort to do so really cost them as we were able to score two late tries to win comfortably 27 – 10.
Man of the match: Tom Paranthoiene
Tries: Will Crawford, Tom Paranthoiene, Callum Jeffries, Palmer Nand
Conv (x2) & Penalty : Will Crawford
6A VS PUKEKOHE HIGH SCHOOL, KC 24 – 7 PHS
King’s 6A travelled to Pukekohe in the rain with a need to improve significantly over the previous week. The team did not disappoint.
The sun came out and the field was in good condition for running rugby. The team played with a much greater sense of urgency and was able to convert that into points with a well taken try to second five Kahu Cotterill. Jack McKay converted from wide out to cap off a strong start.
The forwards were strong with ball in hand and dominated the collisions against a strong defence from Pukekohe. The backs created good space in the outer channels and this led to a good team try with Kian Newman getting on the outside of his opponent and scoring well in the corner. Kings lead 12 – 0 at half time.
Importantly the boys scored first again in the second half to keep control of the game. Both Charlie Kaye and Peer Mitchell scored strong forward-based tries with Jack McKay successful with another conversion.
Despite Pukekohe scoring in the second half it was great to see the team stick to the game plan and the structures we have been practising and they were a lot more physical at the breakdown which gave the backs good go-forward ball, allowing them to play attractive rugby. The boys defence was strong and uncompromising, and it was good to see them building on this strength we have across the park.
UNDER 15 RESTRICTED VS PUKEKOHE HIGH SCHOOL, KC 46 – 5 PHS
The squad made the long traipse out to Pukekohe worthwhile with a well-rounded performance that saw backs and forwards combine well to perform to their potential.
Despite wholesale positional changes at halftime to ensure all of the available 24 players were given field time, the team’s performance clearly reflected some of the key messages around individuals supporting the ball carrier, ensuring ball retention and demonstrating defensive reliability.
An excellent all-round team performance that resulted in tries to Ben Tapper (3), Bailey Harris (2), Yonas Mitchell, Freddie Gilbert and Toi Whatuira was only marred in the last ten minutes by two yellow cards that saw a reduced defensive line succumb to a determined last ditch effort by Pukekohe to taint what had been an otherwise perfect defensive effort.
A special mention must go to Jack Gilbert, who despite being injured for the past fortnight, has turned out to weekday practices and our last two competition matches, a clear demonstration for others of team spirit and commitment. We will look forward to welcoming him back to the playing squad this week.