03 May 2021

Monday 03 May 2021

The King’s College First XV continued their pre-season campaign with a 22-14 win over Christchurch Boys’ High School on Saturday.

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Following a testing trip down south, King’s enjoyed the comforts of playing at their home ground in warm conditions.

Right wing Jonty Willis ran in two tries – one in each half – while midfielder Francis Manuleleua and co-captain Che Clark also dotted down.

The opening spell was an even contest with each side having their opportunities but the execution from both teams was lacking at crucial moments.

Willis grabbed the first five-pointer in the 10th minute after he latched on to a great offload from centre Ali Leiataua, while Manuleleua’s solo effort accounted for the other King’s try in the first half.

Field position was hard to come by, but King’s took a 12-7 lead to halftime with left wing Maikel Tuala enjoying a couple of bright moments down the flank.

In the second stanza, King’s spent long periods without the ball and their defence was tested but Clark was proud of how the team responded.

“We were just talking to each other, telling ourselves to look up and scan and keep working together as insides, just keeping talking with each other, communication,” he said.

Prop Bradley Fifita made a crucial steal at the breakdown around the hour mark as part of a good shift up front, while Tuala showed his ability on the other side of the ball with an amazing cover tackle late in the game to stop what looked to be a certain try for the visitors.

Despite the impressive defensive work, Clark said the team still had room to improve with the start of the 1A competition fast approaching.

“It could be a bit better but it’s good. We were kind of alright, still got a bit of work-ons but we will come in next week and we’ll do what we’ve got to do.”

While Willis added his second try shortly after halftime, it was Clark’s five-pointer that made the result safe and capped a busy game for the blindside flanker.

“Happy with that; stoked to get a try. It’s always good,” Clark said.

In the end, King’s did more than enough to repel the charge of a determined Christchurch Boys’ team as they registered a confidence-boosting victory.

The First XV will travel to Wellington to play Scots College on Saturday for their final pre-season contest.