First XV 20 – 20 De La Salle
The First XV was held to a 20-all draw by De La Salle College in a spirited local derby on Saturday. Playing in windswept conditions at De La Salle College, King’s second five Francis Manuleleua kicked a penalty goal in the final minutes of the match to ensure the spoils were shared.
In many ways a draw was a fair result as both teams left a number of points out there through missed penalty and conversion attempts, most of which could be put down to the blustery conditions that made it challenging for goalkickers.
Looking to build on the momentum of their opening round victory over Liston College, the First XV took a 10-5 lead into halftime after they were awarded a penalty try just before the break as halfback Callum Murray looked destined to score before he was felled by a high tackle.
Playing with the breeze in the second spell, King’s scored the opening try of the half when wing Jonty Willis latched onto a deft grubber kick and Manuleleua added the conversion from the sideline for good measure.
That try sparked the home side into life who piled on three consecutive five-pointers during a frenetic 10-minute period where King’s was starved of the ball and struggled to secure good field position.
De La Salle’s fourth try came in the 52nd minute, giving them a bonus point and setting the stage for a tense final stretch of the match.
Despite enjoying their share of possession in the latter stages of the game, King’s were unable to find a winning try and were left to settle for a draw after Manuleleua’s late penalty goal.
Looking ahead, the key things the team needs to address are self-discipline, handling errors, and not throwing 50-50 passes.
The result left King’s in fifth place on the 1A ladder after two rounds. The First XV’s next match is away from home against the undefeated St Peter’s College on Saturday 28 May.
Congratulations to Brodey Warren on playing his 13th and capping game for the First XV.
2A 27 – 5 Wesley College
King’s College 2nd XV got their 2A campaign off to an encouraging win against a physical Wesley side in difficult conditions in Pukekohe.
King’s made a strong start with fly Daniel James-Nanai distributing and kicking effectively whilst the forwards carried well creating excellent go forward. Following a deft chip and chase centre Josh Schaaf set fullback Louie Ballan free down the right hand side for the first score of the game.
With persistent showers making handling difficult Wesley opted for a tight game utilising their big ball carriers, however the King’s defensive line held firm as the home side conceded several turnovers at the breakdown. In attack King’s moved the ball extremely well and were able to score two more well worked tries before half time.
King’s scored again early in the second half following some excellent handling form both the backs and forwards, however some ill-discipline and poor decision making meant several opportunities were unfortunately spurned. Overall and extremely positive first hit out from the whole squad . Tani Henwood, JP Karma, Qortezz Tuala in the forwards were excellent alongside Daniel James-Nani, Levi Saipele and centres Josh Schaaf and Liam Denny in the centres. MVP goes to Bailey Harris for his tireless work in defence and overall work rate.
1R 14 – 10 St Peter’s College
We were expecting a tough first match against St Peter’s College, and we were not disappointed as our opponents really pushed us hard and never gave up in a tight and evenly contested encounter. To coin an old adage: this was definitely ‘a game of two halves’, as SPC had first use of a very strong wind at their backs and spent the majority of the first half camped in our half.
To our credit, however, our defence was strong and time and again, our boys shunned all SPC efforts to score apart from one unconverted try that saw us turn around at halftime 0 – 5 down. I told the boys at halftime not to panic and to use the wind to keep SPC pinned in their own half. It did not take long for the pressure to mount and lock – Henry Kaye finished off a team effort to score untouched under the posts. Lachie Palmer converted and we held a 7 – 5 lead.
We continued to kick the back into the corners and trust our defence to hold SPC in their own half. From another series of phases, halfback Jack McKay also scored under the posts and Palmer again converted to give us a slightly comfortable 14 – 5 lead. SPC was surviving off our mistakes and some ill-discipline that crept in over the last 10 minutes. Following a warning from the referee, one of our forwards was yellow-carded for the team’s repeated offences at the breakdown and in the last play of the game, SPC managed to score a token try to close the scoring, but our boys had done enough to deserve an encouraging 14 – 10 win.
This was a tough encounter and there were many positives to take out of the game – mainly the first half defence – but also showed up a few areas that we will need to improve upon before heading over the Harbour Bridge to play Westlake BHS next Saturday.
U15A 48 – 10 Mt Albert Grammar
King’s U15A found themselves playing against Mt Albert Grammar (MAGS) on our number 1 field for our first home game of the season. After a windy night both teams were happy to be playing in good conditions with MAGS having the wind advantage for the first half.
King’s wanted to start at home hard and fast and we did not disappoint. After only a few minutes Sione Manuopangai would score out wide for a 5 nil lead. Not long after impressive back Saia Manu would make one of his many great runs of the game and after a few phases another of our impressive backs TJ Anae-Paila would score close to the posts for Zion Savaka to convert.
From the kick off King’s would allow the ball to bounce and found ourselves defending our own try line. After sustained pressure MAGS would score to move the game to 12 5. With the wind advantage MAGS would continue pressuring our line but King’s staunch defence would hold them out. Two fast clearances from Ruka Smythe first to Zion Savaka who gained the advantage line and second to Saia Manu who would run through a hole and with great foot work would score himself close to the posts for Zion to make another good conversion. Just before half time hard working no8 Hemana Connew would make a break out wide and score another great try for King’s to go into the break with commanding half time lead playing into the wind.
King’s started the second half the way we ended the first with another top try by Saia Manu and another conversion to Zion Savaka. The next 4 minutes would see TJ Anae-Paila score two quality tries, one coming from a great set piece play. The second would be converted by Calvin Harris-Tavita.
The next 20 minutes would be a real arm wrestle with MAGS challenging our try line on a few occasions but King’s determination and grit would hold MAGS out. The strong defence from both teams would start to have an effect with a few errors from both teams. With only 5 mins to play D’Angelo Tupou would present Calvin Harris-Tavita with a great pass who in return would throw a well-timed long ball for Joseph Fatuvalu to catch and score in the corner.
MAGS did not give up and with further sustained pressure on our line MAGS were rewarded with one last try in the corner for the final score of 48 10 to King’s. Charlie Burn, Hemana Connew, Sione Manuopangai and Ethan Ofa would work tirelessly upfront and in the backs you could not go past TJ Anae-Paila and Saia Manu with good support from Evan Nathan-Patuawa and many others.
Overall our team took another step forward and it was great to see further improvement from the previous week. The game also helped to identify a few key areas the team can work on throughout the week and we look forward to our next challenge against Massey High School.
Tries – Sione Manuopangai, Hemana Connew, Joseph Fatuvalu, Saia Manu 2 TJ Anae-Paila 3
Conversion – Zion Savaka 3, Calvin Harris-Tavita 1
U15B 0 – 60 Ōtāhuhu College
In an away match with a score that didn’t necessarily reflect their performance, the U15B’s efforts went unrewarded despite a gritty and determined push to the end against a team full of formidably huge players.
The game started late as the referee was nowhere in sight. Our thanks to a King’s College parent who skilfully officiated the match.
Armed with a game plan designed to move the big Ōtāhuhu fowards around the field by moving play from edge to edge, the high tackle count worked against our boys as fatigue and errors crept in.
With ball in possession, our backs did a decent job of putting the ball in behind the opposition resulting in good territory gains but execution errors at key moments prevented the boys from converting into points. As a team we played with improved structure and organisation on both attack and defence.
Our boys will now dust themselves off and take the many positives and learnings from this game forward into next Saturday’s round 2 match against Southern Cross Campus.
5A 5 – 27 MAGS
A game of two halves played away at Mt Albert Grammar under wintery rugby conditions. Some very determined defence and excellent work at the breakdown saw the scores tied 5 all at half time. Some outstanding solo work from Morgan Tapper saw him score a try and he very nearly ran the length of the pitch for a break away effort, only to be pipped on the line. The boys went into half time feeling confident and on top of the opposition.
However, handling errors began to creep in at the start of the second half, and MAGS managed to accumulate points and apply pressure. Outstanding forward Vernon Harrison suffered a cruel injury and will be missed for his contribution in the pack. The game was closer than the scores suggest, and the boys should be heartened by the positives in their performance. Try scorer Morgan Tapper.
Man of the Match goes to Matt Hargrave for his excellent work rate.
6A 12 – 10 St Peter’s College
A man-of-the match performance from centre Jaydan Arahanga (Year 10, School) topped off a magnificent hard-fought victory to open the 6A season against St Peter’s College 6A at King’s on Saturday.
After a brief administrative blunder an hour before the scheduled 9.15am kickoff, the well-drilled, well-oiled 6A machine finally got the chance to show its worth in front of the expectant crowd gathered. The coaches for this season are both Old Collegians - former King’s First XV hooker, Louie Whata (Greenbank, 2016-20) and Teacher of Te Reo Māori, Raniera Harrison (Parnell, 2004-07).
Wet underfoot, the 6A backs ably led by halfback and vice-captain, Daniel Chitty (Year 10, School) and first five eighths, Felix Spary (Year 9, Selwyn) the confidence amongst the King’s outfit was high following consecutive drubbings against Saint Kentigern and Macleans College - accumulating nearly 90 points for in the two preseason fixtures.
St Peter’s, however, proved to be the most formidable opponent we have had yet. Despite lacking significant depth in the front row, the St Peter’s side truly shone with a great ball running loose forward trio and an exceptional midfield combo that provided the King’s defence headaches for the duration of the match.
Starting hooker, Max Gilbert (Year 9, Peart) can be commended for his take-no-prisoners approach when the going got tough for King’s who went in to the second half trailing 10-7 after some tough exchanges between both forward packs. The same can be said for starting lock Willem Winders (Year 9, School) and Tommy Farag who were exceptional off the back of the scrum and carrying the ball in to some heavy St Peter’s traffic.
Koby Schaumkel (Year 9, Parnell) had some classy touches in the midfield, signalling his intention to keep a tight grip on the starting 12 jersey for the duration of the 6A season. Captain and starting openside flanker, Jamie Ogilvie (Year 9, Averill) must also be commended for his ability to keep a cool head in ordering the troops around the park when tensions looked like they could have easily boiled over.
The contest was a hard-fought battle between two old rivals and a great start to the season proper. The 6A side now turn their sights to what is shaping up to be a grudge match between the highly-applauded Auckland Grammar 6A side. Both sides square off on the King’s number 1 on Saturday with a scheduled 9.15am kick-off.
U15R 21 – 46 Pukekohe HS
Another beautiful autumnal morning in the City of Sails heralded the start of the Under 15 Restricted team’s competition season. On this occasion the score was a little harsh on King’s as the Pukekohe No. 8, who scored four tries, one from inside his own half, was the difference between the teams.
King’s learnt from their first two games and were very competitive and it was somewhat against the run of play that PHS took the lead with a long range try to their winger. King’s responded well and with their pod system working well, Matt Cunningham was able to make use of some front foot ball and score a converted try. The teams exchanged scores, with Matt Cunningham scoring and converting his try. However Pukekohe scored on half time to take a narrow lead 15-14.
The second half was a bit of a struggle with PHS scoring four unanswered tries, with three to their number 8 who was outstanding with ball in hand. To their credit, King’s never gave up and there were some great individual efforts from Matt Cunningham, Theo Yeoman, Archie McInness, Kasey Lewis and Hugo Olde. The loudest cheer of the day was when Lachie Morris crashed over to score his first try of the season.
The team is improving and with House Music in the rear-view mirror, the boys can focus on having two solid trainings this week before next weekend game against Auckland Grammar
Player of the Day: Sam Coulter. Sam gave 110% percent and displayed excellent tackling skills married to aggressive running with the ball.