First XV 20 - 20 St. Kentigern College
Captain Francis Manuleleua kicked a conversion with the final act of the game to help the First XV secure a 20-all draw against Saint Kentigern College on Saturday.
The result marked the team’s second 20-all draw in their past three matches after they registered the same scoreline against De La Salle College last month.
Down 13-20 with the clock winding down, King’s were able to capitalise on a sustained period of pressure and Luca Fuller crashed over for a try.
That set the stage for Manuleleua who did the rest as the final whistle went.
While it wasn’t a win, the outcome was a great turnaround for the team after suffering a heavy defeat against St Peter’s College in their previous outing.
“The boys knew we had to get a good rebound off that one loss,” Manuleleua said.
“It’s a pretty big occasion on this field, it’s good that the boys could fight it out into the second half and come out with a draw.”
Saturday’s match proved a highly entertaining contest on a pristine Saint Kents pitch that allowed both sides to run the ball with confidence as the rain stayed away.
King’s were solid at the set piece, making noted improvements in their scrum and lineout. The team were also able to disrupt the Saint Kents lineout with lock Josh Olliver stealing a couple against the throw.
Discipline proved an issue for the home side and Saint Kents had three players sent to the sin bin during the match for an array of misdemeanours.
Down 3-13 at halftime, King’s needed to lift, and Sam Afu made a great break up the middle of the park early in the second spell, which exemplified the team’s intent.
Minutes later fullback Trey Alatini scored in the corner after King’s made a break from inside their own half and Manuleleua knocked over a crucial sideline conversion before adding a penalty in the 50th minute to level the scores at 13-13.
Saint Kents reclaimed the lead with a try shortly after, but King’s didn’t quit and when Fuller crossed with time expiring, Manuleleua made sure the team came away with the draw.
The result left King’s in seventh place on the 1A ladder but only one win outside the top four.
Their next match is on Saturday 18 June when they will host Auckland Grammar School in their traditional fixture.
“We haven’t beaten Grammar for the last three years so it’s going to be a big one for us,” Manuleleua said.
2A 0 - 17 Sacred Heart College
The 2nd XV suffered their first defeat of season to a well drilled Sacred Heart side. A slow start meant the home side found themselves conceding the first points of the game as Sacred opted for 3 points inside the first quarter. Despite creating several opportunities King’s failed to capitalise as ill-discipline consistently gifted the opposition with valuable territory and possession. Despite some sound defence Sacred deservedly scored a converted try taking a 10-0 lead into the break. The second half saw King’s camped inside the Sacred half but a raising penalty count, coupled with poor decision making and some resolute defence meant King’s failed to convert pressure into points. Against the run of play Sacred scored their second try to seal the game with only minutes left on the clock to end a disappointing overall performance and one they boys will look to rectify this week away at Kelston.
MVP – Charlie Hunn who was a constant threat with ball in hand and created several try scoring opportunities.
U15A 24 - 5 Kelston Boy's High School
King’s U15A would find ourselves travelling out West again against Kelston with a late start of 1145. With low numbers at training we were expecting a real challenge especially given the conditions. With sickness affecting our front row Logan Pulotu-McCarthy would make his debut.
King’s started the game well with some strong running from hard working forwards Sione Manupangai and Hemana Connew and after multiple phases our captain Saia Manu would score a great try for Zion Savaka to convert. The next quarter Kelston would pressure our red zone but our defence would hold them out. On the 20 min mark Spencer Capper would gather a long pass from Joseph Fatuvalu and start a great run from our 22m beating a player before passing to impressive TJ Anae-Paila who would also beat a couple of players before passing back to Spencer who would then score a great try to extend King’s lead.
Evan Nathan-Patuawa would have one of his many great runs in the game to get us into our green zone and allow King’s to pressure Kelston’s set piece. Olly Chapman would win a nice lineout and quick clearance from Ruka Smythe from multiple phases would find King’s pressuring Kelston’s line and a classy backdoor pass from Ruka to Zion Savaka who would then put Charlie Burn into a hole to score a nice try out wide for Zion to convert from the sideline in tricky conditions. King’s would go into half time with a commanding 19 nil lead.
With the start of the second half along came the rain, hail, thunder and lightning, this was going to be a challenging second half playing into the wind. Ethan Ola would enter the game and what an impact he would bring. After a nice backline play our forwards would find themselves close to the try line and Ethan Ola would pick and go to score a great try to extend King’s lead. Kelston would be rewarded with a good try out wide with about 15 mins to go but the rest of the second half would be a real arm wrestle. The last 10 mins would see both teams lose a couple of players to injury and solid defence from both sides would have the game finish 24 5 to King’s.
Up front Sione Manupangai, Hemana Connew, Johan Schaumkell and Ethan Ola would have solid games, and in the backs Ruka Smythe, TJ Anae-Paila, Saia Manu, Spencer Capper and Evan Nathan-Patuawa would impress, with also great defence from Zion Savaka, D’Angelo Tupou, Charlie Burn, Joseph Fatuvalu and Sam Gapes.
The team are looking forward to having two solid trainings before playing against our traditional foes Auckland Grammar at home next weekend.
Tries –Saia Manu, Spencer Capper, Charlie Burn and Ethan Ola,
Conversion – Zion Savaka 2
5A 14 - 26 Sacred Heart College
A vastly improved performance from the boys overall against a well drilled and well regarded Sacred Heart team. After a tight first 15 minutes, Sacred opened the scoring out wide in dubious circumstances, but the boys shook that disappointment off well and settled into their patterns in a more regular fashion. Some direct carrying by forwards Te Rae Watene and James Wilson followed up by sound game management by 1st 5 Dominic Lunjevich saw the forwards exerting real pressure on Sacred’s line. They narrowly missed a try and Sacred scrabbled well to clear to player of the day Zeal Jones at Full back who carried the ball back well all day. This time the boys didn’t miss their opportunity with a well-constructed try by Renzo Sumich after a long series of phase play. The rest of the half was a see-saw, arm wrestle affair and despite trying conditions both teams constructed good phase and back play with no quarter given in defense. An un-characteristic dropped ball gifted Scared a soft try just before ½ time which saw Sacred leading at ½ time by 12 – 7 which flattered them a bit.
We rang the changes in the second ½ with the reserves contributing well in general play but set pieces did struggle. King’s turned down several gift 3 points which would have closed the gap at a critical time as they searched for a try. However, a lack of time together contributed to some lapses at critical times at scrum time and defence as guys are still getting used to the new systems, and this gave Sacred another soft try. Rather than drop their heads this galvanized the boys and they started to enjoy more possession and dominated field position which forced Sacred to give away penalties. This eventually paid off with Morgan Tapper sneaking over at close range and closed the score to 19 - 14 with 10 minutes to go with King’s on the ascendancy especially in general game play situations. However, Sacred’s second ½ dominance at scrum time eventually got them home as they sneaked a try at close range in the final minutes for a final score of 26 – 14.
Overall, the game was there for the taking and the boys played well enough to win it. A lack of time at training time for some boys was the difference in the end. If everyone commits to turning up to two trainings this week then we will see more improvements which will cut out those small lapses at critical times which hurt us today.
6A 13 - 12 Mt. Albert Grammar School
A sensational try right on the stroke of full time from winger Kerwin Brown (School, 10) was exactly what the King’s 6A side needed to steal a 13-12 victory from a skilled Mount Albert Grammar School 6A outfit at King’s on Saturday morning.
Originally scheduled to play at MAGS - a field notorious for its boggy nature after long spells of rain, a flurry of Friday lunchtime administration juggling to-and-fro, the game finally got underway in Ōtāhuhu in front of an expectant crowd on both sides of the park. The undefeated King’s outfit were coming off the back of an uncanny 0-0 scoreline and did an untold amount of soul searching over the Queen’s Birthday Mid Term Exeat weekend so as not to leave any points out on the field against their Mt. Albert foes.
Returning from a week in isolation, and straight back in to his role as starting hooker, Max Gilbert (Peart, 9) turned out a man of the match performance and earned himself a voucher to the tune of $10 proudly sponsored by the King’s College Tuck Shop. His no-nonsense approach, as observed by Forwards Coach Louie Whata (Greenbank, 2016-2020) was the synergetic petrol in the 6A engine to get that much needed go-forward ball over the advantage line.
After going in to the break leading 5-0, an efficient MAGS backline managed to sneak across the chalk with two quick tries in succession to open the second spell. That, however, wasn’t enough to nail the King’s coffin closed. The sheer determination exhibited by the King’s forward pack, once again ably led by captain Jamie Ogilvie (Averill, 9) and vice-captain halfback Daniel Chitty (School, 9) the King’s outfit kicked in to gear. Jayden Arahanga (School, 10), usually an outright centre, once again made a huge impact and will find himself having the ability to take a mortgage out on his new no. 12 jersey after an excellent performance. He was heard to be copping flak from his teammates that his performance was reminiscent of King’s 1st XV second-five and captain for 2022, Francis Manuleleua - but that’s another story.
Coach Raniera Harrison (Parnell 2004-2007) says, “We really dodged a bullet out there. It was a game of two halves and the MAGS side really made us dig deep. The King’s men can be proud that they kept a calm head on their shoulders when the going got tough. As we teach our men out there - Kings rugby is smart rugby - and that’s what we aim to play.”
Now with three wins and a draw, the top-of-the-table King’s side are scheduled to take on Glendowie College at King’s next Saturday with the intention to continue their unbeaten record in to week 5 of the hotly contested Auckland 6A competition.
U15R 33 - 31 Mt. Albert Grammar School
Sunday, Monday, Happy Days
Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days
Thursday, Friday Happy Days
Saturday, what a day,
Rugby for all of ‘uwes (Not real lyric)
The parents are hopefully humming the ‘Happy Days’ theme and they will remember that the main family was the Cunninghams. Well Saturday was ‘Happy Days’ for Matt Cunningham. Although, I am not sure which of the above characters he would prefer to be?
The City of Sails lived up to its 4 seasons in one day with wind, rain and sun at May Road. The Kings boys started well and after some good ruck work, neat passing allowed Matt Cunningham to score. An injury to the referee meant that we again were fortunate enough to be able to call on Craig Cunningham to stand in. The team had their dander up and quickly scored another try in the right hand corner. 12-0 after 5 minutes.
As the rain stopped, the Kings dander withered, and MAGS roared back into the game. Playing into a wind, they showed determination and desire to score 2 tries into the wind. This levelled the scores at half time. Half-Time : Kings 12 MAGS 12
The second half was a half of two half’s. MAGS continued with their strong direct running, and coupled with some below par tackling, they quickly scored 3 tries, meaning they had scored 31 unanswered points. The challenge was laid down to the Kings team: Did they WANT the W.
Resilience is defined as ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness’. Desire is defined as ‘a strong feeling of wanting to have something.’ These are qualities that can’t be caught, they have to be learnt, earned and taught. The Kings team responded to the challenge and after their first try, the dander re-emerged. With MAGS now on the backfoot, Kings roared towards the try line and through great team play, they scored a 2 further tries.
The plaudits given to Matt Cunningham were well earned, and ultimately it was his conversions that made the difference.
Tries: 5 (Matt Cunningham): Conv: 4 (Matt Cunningham)
Player of the Day : Matt Cunningham. A mature display of rugby nous. Kicked well, ran at the right gaps and scored 33 points. Outstanding performance.