King’s 27-3 MAGS
Following a week off with no games being played over Queen’s Birthday Weekend, after such an impressive and clinical win against St. Kent’s the week before, we knew it was going to be a challenge to get the boys back up again last week to go across to play at Mount Albert Grammar School. Added to the equation, was the horrible weather conditions that set-in mid-way through the week as well as a couple of key elements from our team who were not able to play against MAGS. Vice-Captain and No 8 – Judda Turahui, is out for several more weeks with a knee injury and mid-fielder Temple Kalepo was unavailable this weekend. MAGS sits just behind AGS as our second oldest Auckland rival school; our first match against MAGS dating back to 1922 with our two schools meeting over 130 times since that first match. Another point of interest, is that we had not beaten MAGS at MAGS since 2008 – that’s a long time between celebrations!
So, onto the match… There was a very strong wind blowing pretty much across the field, so it was similarly difficult and testing for both teams. There was also intermittent rain that came and went throughout the match, which did not help our best plans to play a running style of football, that had been so effective in our previous matches. We put ourselves under pressure by making a mess of receiving the kick-off but we took two tight-heads from the first two scrums of the match and our lineout was dominant also, so we had our fair share of set-piece possession throughout the first half. We created multiple scoring opportunities and each time, came up short through wrong options or inaccuracy. When the halftime whistle blew, a single penalty to Aidan Morgan was the only points separating the two teams. One area that we were performant in, was our defence. The MAGS boys never really looked like scoring and offered little more than pick and drives or one-off runners; our strong defensive patterns ensured the score remained 3 - 0 to us at the break.
After some encouraging words from the coaches, the aim was to speed the game up, make some better decisions and to be more accurate in everything we did. Our challenge was to win the game and to hopefully score four tries to pick up the bonus point. It would not take too long before we were able to score two tries to centre Meihana Grindlay and openside flanker Tahu Watson. Unfortunately, due to the challenging weather conditions, first five eighth Aidan Morgan was unable to convert either of the two tries, but we had made a break to lead 13 – 0. MAGS continued their assault on our defences and when they were awarded a penalty close to the posts inside our 22, they chose to take the three points. These would, however, be the only points they would score in the match. With around ten minutes to go in the match, it was starting to look like we would not score the desired four tries to pick up the bonus point. But once again, our forwards provided good front-foot ball to our backs and replacement fullback Chicago Doyle and left wing Luron Iosefa were both able to score tries – both of which were converted by Aidan Morgan, and when the game had finished, we had thankfully scored four tries and left MAGS with the five points we had come to take home with us. The 27 - 3 victory leaves us sitting second on the table – two points behind leaders – AGS, with another five teams not far behind, all trying to cement a place in the top four to qualify for playoff contention.
Next week we return to King’s to play the first of three home games in a row - a local derby against neighbours – De La Salle College who currently sit in seventh position, but who are only 6 points behind us on the points table. Hopefully the conditions will improve and we will be able to get back to playing some fast-paced, accurate rugby and maintain our place near the top of the congested points table, in front of our home supporters.
King’s 5-5 De La Salle
The Kings Second XV drew 5-5 with De La Salle at their home ground on Saturday. We are still undefeated in the last three games.
This was always going to be hard game playing against a bigger team on their home turf. Also taking into account the wet and windy weather conditions. For the third week in a row the team’s defence was outstanding. The forwards really stood up in defence setting the tone of the day. Another outstanding performance led by Jason Honour, Seb Macdonald, Tevita Likiliki, Sione Ahokovi and Lawrence Sullivan Pahl frustrated De La Salle players forcing them into making many errors. Set piece was solid with our locks Sam Brewer and Tom Ludbrook winning all their line outs and scrums winning 100% of their own ball.
Halftime produced an old school score of 0-0 which would have pleased the old rugby hardcore purist from yesteryear.
With De La Salle having 80% of the ball on attack they could not breach our solid defensive line. The second half started well with Mogammad Smith finishing off a backline move scoring a try which only he could. Running 20 metres forward and 50 metres sideways to blitz his opponents to score in the corner. Magic!
Kings College went 5-0 up but unfortunately we failed to convert the try. This was no blight on the kickers as the wind was not favourable to either side. De La Salle then scored 2 minutes from halftime after a lop-sided penalty account not in our favour.
With the scores locked up at 5-5 all that’s how the game ended.
Stand outs for the backs were Ethan Stuart, Moghamd Smith and Michael Tuala. As a team we celebrated the call up of Second XV players to the First XV this week to play Mt Albert Grammar. It is important to acknowledge this achievement. This week it was Sean Roberton and Ethan Cave. It shows the pathway process to the First XV via the Second XV is working. Well done guys.
Andre, Kams, Awanui and Dan
King’s 0-31 Auckland Grammar
With a few key players away on camp, the rest of the team had to step up to the challenge. Our opposition was traditional rivals Auckland Grammar School, with us playing away at Grammar on their artificial field.
King’s got off to a great start, forcing an early knock-on to gain possession right away. However, repeated mistakes allowed the opposition to advance into our 22. Despite some great defence, Auckland Grammar managed to sneak in through the gap to score on the side. 0-5 to Grammar. Good pressure from King’s caused the opposition to repeatedly concede penalties and allowed us to play in their 22. However, we weren’t able to capitalise and Auckland Grammar were in possession of the ball again. The opposition eventually once again ran through the gap in our back line and scored under the post, with a successful conversion. 0-12 to Grammar.
The second half started with Auckland Grammar in possession. Unfortunately, with a lack of important defence from King’s, the opposition once again managed to break the line and score. Missed conversion, 0-17 Grammar. After 10 minutes of back and forth play, Grammar managed to turn the ball over from their 22 and with a well-structured back line ran through the entire field to score again. 0-24 Grammar. Auckland Grammar has gained too much momentum and scored once more before the full time whistle blew. 0-31 Grammar.
Overall, Auckland Grammar was a well-structured team which tested our team’s poor defence and plays. There is much more for our team to work on during trainings in preparation for future games.
Bailey Liu (Year 10, Averill)
King’s 25-0 MAGS
The Kings 1R show rolled on over the weekend, with a Friday night game under the lights of Nixon Park, as MAGS played host to us. With the Auckland winter kicking into full gear we knew we would be in for a challenging game of footy. We came out of the blocks firing with Alex Goodwin sliding knees first in an unconventional dive crossing in the corner to open our account. From there we played with some real flair and it wasn’t long before Stu Macalister dotted over for another 5 points from close to the uprights. With all the momentum on our side we started to play with some real confidence but credit to the MAGS defence as they continued to hold us out. We also aimed up well in defence keeping MAGS out as we headed to break 12-0.
Heading into the second half, with fresh legs coming on we had confidence running through us. However, some silly errors and discipline cost us - MAGS set up camp inside our 22. We muscled up and defended strongly as we kept them out. We started to find space out on the flanks that lead to us marching down field, with Macalister again adding to our lead to take us to 15-0. From there we never looked back as we started to open up the MAGS defence. Wayne Kasou crossed over out wide to take us to 20-0. We were tested again but we stood strong as Mika Tuia crossed with a barge over try from close range to finish the game giving us a 25-0 win. Our defence was again outstanding as we kept MAGS scoreless and for 2 weeks in a row we didn’t have a try against us!
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Ben Howard – For someone that didn’t want to play prop he is certainly doing a great job at it. With a chest the size of Dwayne Johnson he leads the forward pack. His brick wall-like defence kept us in tack, and his countless runs got us on the front foot. MAGS didn’t learn to not kick-off to him as he was winding up from the back fence every time bruising their defence.
Alex Goodwin – In the number 15 jersey Alex was again outstanding. His organisation skills at the back are top shelf and you could bet your house on him to make a tackle every time the opposition broke through. Defence wasn’t his only asset however as he popped his head into the backline countless times to get us over the advantage line.
King’s 41-0 St Peter’s
King's started this year's formal competition with a visit to The Domain to play St Peters on a very blustery and chilly day. The boys put in a clinical first half performance to lead 29-0 at the break. The backline was once again outstanding and played with freedom with the excellent ball created by the forward effort.
Unfortunately, the team lost structure and momentum in the second half and, aided by some baffling officiating, only scored twice more to end the game at 41-0. A very pleasing start to the competition and we await Sacred Heart at home next week.
Joe Taylor at 9 was very good all day and linked the forwards and backs very well. Monty Hare at 13 was the best defensive back and Charles Rasmusen at hooker had a fantastic game.
King’s 73-3 Auckland Grammar
King’s turned up to Grammar on Saturday in hurricane winds and driving rain conditions. A few hardy King’s parents turned up and battled the elements to watch us which was very much appreciated by us all.
For the second week in a row this King’s team just seem to be getting stronger and stronger and from the outset we stamped our mark on the game firstly by our forwards who seem to be enjoying the hard graft and the outstanding running game of our backs.
A total of 13 tries scored with a few individual tries of mention. Firstly a great run by Tom Ogg who ghosted past five or six forwards then kicked on for Codie Heron to score a fantastic try, another try by Ed who picked the ball up on his own five metre line and ran past nearly every Grammar player to score an amazing try. The find of the season so far was Oliver Dunshea who came on with twenty minutes to play and scored two fantastic solo tries and he has put himself right into our selection headache for next week. Grammar put on nine of their 5A players during on the second half which made no difference to their side, in fact it woke some of our forwards up who started to enjoy a little bit more of physicality from Grammar.
We have been on the road for the last three weeks and now we are at home for the next two weeks against the second and third place getters in the division. It will be interesting to see how we measure up against stronger opposition which will test the character of this exciting team.
Try scorers this week. Carrick x2, Gilles, x2 Ogg x2, Grieve, Heron, Dunshea x2, Ed x2, Chen
Opposition: Takapuna Grammar 7A
Result: Lost 15 - 30
Halftime score: 10 - 10
Playing with a howling wind at their backs, King’s failed to take early advantage of the weather and following some back and forth action in conditions that were far from conducive to passing rugby, Takapuna Grammar opened the scoring early in the first half when their backline waltzed through some ineffective tackling to score the first of their six-try bag.
Following some great attacking forward work from a very hard working eight, halfback Will Smith in one of his typical elusive plays scored from behind the pack and King’s levelled the score 14 minutes into the first half.
Despite having clear instructions to use the wind and play a kicking game into the left-hand corner, King’s persisted in engaging with Takapuna in a tit-for-tat running game. And, as if to show their gratitude, it wasn’t too long before Takapuna again took advantage of some imitation weathervane defence and pushed aside some poor attempts at tackling to add a second try and take their lead out to 5-10.
Thankfully, shortly after, the forward pack again provided a solid platform that allowed Will Smith an opportunity to score for a second time and King’s saw out the first half at 10-all without incurring further advantage or damage.
But turning into a ferocious wind with a smattering of rain with no lead to defend meant that Kings were going to have to confront the folly of their first half strategy and, as if to rub in the lesson, in pretty short order Takapuna ran in four unanswered and thankfully unconverted tries to take them out to a handy 10-30 lead.
But one thing can be said for this King’s side and that is they never drop their heads. Despite being 20 points behind and playing into atrocious conditions, with 12 minutes to go King’s turned on some of their best rugby to date and a dominant, aggressive and determined forward pack through sheer hard work, took control of the last quarter and moved the game from inside their own 22 and set up camp in the Takapuna half.
For their efforts, they were rewarded with one of their best tries this season when, after a series of pick and go runs, Oliver Wright was duly rewarded for another outstanding 60-minute effort with the final try of the match.
Despite taking their early season record to a tally of 2 wins, 3 losses deficit, King’s will be acutely aware that they themselves have largely contributed to this position and that they have the skill and ability to quickly change this record.
See the King's College Team of the Week