First XV 23 - 15 Mt. Albert Grammar
The First XV defeated Mount Albert Grammar School 23-15 at King’s College on Saturday to stay in touch with the top four on the 1A ladder.
The result, capped off by a penalty goal from Francis Manuleleua on full-time, meant the team moved to sixth place on the points table, only one point adrift of MAGS who are in fourth. It was by no means an easy victory for King’s who were behind by seven points inside the opening five minutes as MAGS scored an early converted try. That sparked the First XV into life and after some pressure on the MAGS line the visitors conceded a penalty try that helped King’s draw level.
Only a few minutes later, King’s found another five-pointer – this time through halfback Jack Elliott who was given the opportunity to start after some impressive cameos from the bench recently. Following a strong scrum Elliott snagged the ball from MAGS and dotted down, allowing Manuleleua the chance to give the home side a 14-7 advantage on the scoreboard. After another penalty for each side, King’s took a 17-10 lead to the halftime break. In the second spell, both teams had their fair share of possession, but points proved hard to come by. As the clock wore down, King’s were ahead 20-10 and MAGS scored a try out wide but were unable to convert, which set up a tense final stretch of the match. After producing some more resolute defence, King’s won a penalty allowing Manuleleua the chance to ice the game and deny MAGS a bonus point.
The team will need to reduce its error rate and look after the ball with more precision to improve for the next game. Prop Sam Afu had a busy game with plenty of strong carries through the middle, while loose forward Scott Sheffield-Gray got through plenty of work against a large MAGS forward pack.
Manuleleua and midfield partner Jarius Iosefa were also dangerous on attack. Congratulations to Yr 10 Sione Manuapangai for his 1st XV debut game from the bench.
The First XV’s next match is a home fixture against Kelston Boys’ High School on Saturday 2 July.
1R 13 - 5 Sacred Heart College
Following a slightly disappointing draw against AGS at home last Saturday, we had prepared well throughout this week, I thought, for the arrival of a very strong Sacred Heart College team that also came across to King’s on Saturday. It rained all of Friday and we were expecting to have to play wet-weather football against SHC, however, the sun came out and despite a bit of a north-easterly wind blowing, we were able to play the way that we had trained and prepared for. The challenge, however, was made all the more interesting given that seven of my squad, including five of the starting XV were unavailable to play through injury or for personal reasons. I reminded the other boys that they were given an opportunity to step-up and take the chance to play, with open arms, to show that we would not lose any fire-power with the absence of one third of the squad for this match.
In the first half we played into the wind and put together some good phases of play. The boys held onto the ball when we had it and showed patience and control. Around half way through the first half, we were awarded a penalty around 40m out from their posts. 1st5/8 – Lachie Palmer stepped up to take the difficult kick and slotted it beautifully. Towards the end of the first half, from a first phase set play, we swung the ball back down the blind side and fullback – Joshua Hargrave scored a well-taken try under the posts that was also converted by Lachie Palmer to go into the break 10 – 0 up. At halftime I told the boys that they had done the hard work into the wind, but that we could not now sit back and let them back into the game. We kicked well, using the wind advantage to pin SHC down their end of the field for the majority of the half and our defence was strong. From one of our attacks, they gave away a penalty and Lachie Palmer again converted to take the score out to 13 – 0. SHC never gave up and a lack of discipline from us at times allowed them back into the game. From one of the few excursions into our 22m, SHC scored a well-deserved try and we closed out the match to win 13 – 5. I was delighted with the way we had played and in particular, with our defence and how the whole squad worked hard for each other to defeat one of the favourites in our grade. The task does not get any easier though, as we head across to St. Kent’s College next Saturday to play the team that beat us in a pre-season match by four tries to three.
U15A 20 - 5 St. Peters College
King’s U15A played St Peters in the cage under great rugby conditions, sun shining and no wind. King’s had trained well all week and we were hoping to play a fast and expansive game. King’s started well and only after a few minutes hard working forward Keneti Fanuatanu would score out wide for King’s to take an early lead. King’s started to show our dominance with some powerful running from impressive forwards Hemana Connew, Sione Manupangai and player of the day Johan Schaumkell. Elusive lock Olly Chapman would score again out wide for King’s to extend our lead.
In the backs Saia Manu, Zion Savaka, Ethan Nathan-Patuawa and TJ Anae-Paila would do some telling tackles and our scrum would start to gain advantage. With 20 minutes to play in the first half Ruka Smythe would throw a well timed skip pass and King’s would make a great break, after a few phases our ball would be cleared fast to Zion Savaka who would then pass a great long ball to Calvin Harris-Tavita who would take on the line and score a great team try again out wide. Zion was able to convert to extend King’s lead.
The last quarter would be a real arm wrestle with both teams defending well and King’s going into the second half with a commanding 17 nil lead.
The old rugby cliche, game of two halves, would be a good way to describe the next 30 minutes. Only after a few minutes into the second half St Peters would score a nice team try to make the score 17 to 5. St Peters would then spend some time pressuring King’s try line and if it wasn’t for some outstanding defence St Peters would have scored again. Sean Angilau would do a great tackle to hold up one of St Peters players and not long after that Ryan Young would do the same.
Again, our discipline at times would let us down in the second half and this is an area the team need to improve moving into next weeks home game against De La Salle. Two missed penalty kicks for touch would allow St Peters to keep pressuring our line but our defence would hold strong. A great break away started by Johan Schaumkell would have King’s with good ball in our green zone. After a few phases we would be awarded a penalty and Zion Savaka would convert for the game to finish 20 to 5.
Up front Johan Schaumkell, Sione Manupangai, Hemana Connew, Evile Tuumatavai would have good games. Olly Chapman, Sam Gapes and Christian Collins would ensure we had good lineout ball throughout the game. In the backs Saia Manu, TJ Anae-Paila, Zion Savaka, Ryan Young and Evan Nathan-Patuawa would have strong defensive games with Ruka Smythe and Joseph Fatuvalu giving good ball from halfback.
The team will take away a lot of learnings from the second half and we look forward to playing at home next weekend. Lastly, huge congratulations to Sione Manupangai who not only had a great half game for us but he also had an impressive debut for our King’s 1st XV with a win over Mt Albert Grammar, well done Sione!
Tries – Keneti Fanuatanu, Olly Chapman and Calvin Harris-Tavita
Conversion: Zion Savaka
Penalty: Zion Savaka
U15B 12 - 12 Mangere College
On a muddy pitch at Mangere College, the U15B’s boys showed their true potential in a nail-biting 12-all draw that was fought right to the final whistle – again with only one substitute player on our bench.
With not an official match referee in sight, we were able to continue with Dr. Jeff Samasoni generously offering to referee. Our gratitude and thanks to Dr Samasoni for officiating the match.
Week-in, week-out fullback Jamie Ludbrook has proven his value to the team, and this week was no exception. On the end of sustained attack in the opposition 22 midway through the first half, Jamie crashed over the line to score the first try of the our season. Kace Hawkins’ duly converted the try to set up an early lead of 7-Nil. Mangere College were quick to reply not long after with a converted try.
The front row club Taani Mafileo-Afeaki, Tyler-Rex Samasoni-Tukuitonga, and Loghan Pulotu-McCarthy were a power-house on defence putting in big hits on the opposition pods, and fiercely carrying the ball valuable metres on attack setting up a great platform for the backs to feed off. Lock Jaydan Samasoni had a massive game too, putting in big tackles on the opposition point-runners and carrying with style and confidence. Likewise the four-man lineout worked a treat in the first half with Captain Cohen Harding (Lock) securing a steady supply of easy front-foot ball for half-back Fraser Brown.
Back from injury second-five eighth Kosal Lee combined well with Kace on attack both players showing great running and kicking skills on attack. Kace was steady on defence with excellent exiting punts in the red-zone. Wingers Charlie Field and Christopher Hatch were busy all day chasing kicks, or finishing backline moves fed by centre Charles Zhang. Charles also played in the forwards later to cover for a shoulder injury to number 8 Logan Marsh while versatile Ethan Mathewson after a stint in the forwards, then got to show off his backline skills on the wing.
Despite King’s territorial advantage in the first half, Mangere College were great at taking advantage of any opportunities presented, and were able to stretch our defence to score a second unconverted try just before the break. Loosie trio Gus Iversen, Bassy Tupou and Logan Marsh combined well with the backline to get play out to the edges and pushing for tries in the corners. Bassy in particular got many runs ball in hand, and looked very comfortable joining in the backline attack. The second half saw both teams pushing hard for dominance and points evenly. Hungry for a win late in the second half, our forwards were camped in their 22. After multiple phases and drives for the line, Tyler-Rex finished for the forwards with a pick-and-go to score a well-deserved try.
Unable to convert, the match score remained at 12-all at the final whistle after a solid eight or so minutes of each side trying desperately to win.
TRIES: Jamie Ludbrook, Tyler-Rex Samasoni-Tukuitonga
CONVERSIONS: Kace Hawkins (1/2)
5A 3 - 17 Auckland Grammar School
Table topping Grammar at home was always going to be a tough assignment. This wasn’t aided with several injuries and sickness hitting the squad which disrupted training during the week.
The boys looked a shade jaded during warm up on the back of the holiday, which was worrying, but they seemed to gel on the opening whistle. The opening 15 minutes was a see saw affair with both sides having their moments. After trying to break our defence to no avail on the back of several penalties, Grammar conceded and took the points on offer from a penalty to lead 3 - 0.
It stayed that way until late in the first half when a defensive lapse out wide saw Grammar score in the corner which was nicely converted to give them a comfortable 10 - 0 lead. This galvanised the boys with player of day, Sam McKay, leading the defensive effort up front with some nice hits, and he was ably supported by Matt Hargreaves, Blake Hayes and James Wilson. We started to enjoy some possession in their red zone with the ensuing pressure causing Grammar to concede penalties. This time it was our turn to take the points and this saw out the 1/2 with the score at 10 - 3.
We were right in the game and the boys felt at 1/2 time they were getting the ascendancy and with a slight breeze at our backs and a downhill advantage we knew where we had to play the game. We definitely enjoyed the better of the opening 10 minutes of the second half but an intercept try against the run of play sank our heads a little bit.
Forced to now chase the game a sin bin for a high tackle followed which did us no favours. Down to 14 men the boys lifted on the back of assertive play from Harry Taylor, who was forced to the wing due to sickness in the squad, and new recruit Kieran Bargery also performed well out wide, supported by Zeal Jones who had a busy day at full back.
The game finished as it started with both teams grinding out hard yards in an even contest. Aside from the intercept try the result was probably a fair reflection on the game and we know we can do better, so we are sure the boys will be looking forward to the return fixture at home early next term.
6A 15 - 17 Sacred Heart College
A late second-half surge from a spirited King’s 6A side was not enough to contain a visiting Sacred Heart College 6A side in the 6A top-of-the-table clash losing 17-15, held at King’s on Saturday.
There must have been something swirling in the Ōtāhuhu morning breeze because the King’s 6A outfit entered the brutal encounter firing on what could be best described as ‘half-a-cylinder.’ Whereas Sacred Heart, thanks to some classy midfield touches and distribution to the outside backs found themselves up 7-0 in the first stanza of play.
The King’s forward pack, however, ably led around the King’s #1 by experienced veteran flanker, Jamie Ogilvie (Averill, 9) was doing all that they could to disrupt the flow of a Sacred Heart onslaught. Ogilvie, a former Grammar Carlton junior before arriving at King’s took matters in to his own hands and was responsible for turning the game on its head by turning over the ball numerous times at the breakdown – enough times in fact to be named man of the match and this week’s recipient of the $10 voucher proudly sponsored by the King’s College Tuck Shop.
Former King’s 1st XV hooker, Old Collegian and forwards coach, Louie Whata (Greenbank, 2016-2020) says that the King’s dominance up front has been something that the troops have been focussed on over the last few weeks. He says, “we have found ourselves up against some great forward packs. The likes of Grammar and Glendowie really challenged us up front so we knew we had to be defiant especially at the set piece. I’m super proud of how far our scrum has come.” Oliver Gregory (Selwyn, 9) returning from an unforeseen absence from school played as if his rugby career at King’s depended on it. Gregory, the man responsible for a lot of King’s go forward ball this season, carried well in to heavy Sacred Heart traffic but also allowed the King’s loose forward trio to find open pasture and stretch the legs out on ‘the big stage’ here at King’s.
Teacher of Te Reo Māori, Old Collegian and coach, Raniera Harrison (Parnell, 2004-2007) says that the toll of injury and other unforeseen circumstances are starting to take their toll on the King’s outfit. “We’ve got our Year 10 boys heading away on camp shortly. A lot of those missing crucial games play a really pivotal role in our set play so to see some of these Year 9 boys putting their hands up and really digging deep for the King’s jersey is something that I admire.” A clever short-side dash from halfback, Daniel Chitty (School, 10) on the opposition 22 gave way for hooker, Max Caughey (St Johns, 9) to crash over in the corner with his first try for King’s. Anecdotally speaking, his teammates have noted that the post-try celebration was as great as the try itself and rightfully so.
Trailing 17-15 with at least 10 minutes still on the clock, it was again the King’s forward pack – with a notable mention to Tommy Farag (School, 10) who looked to take Sacred Heart head on and try to snatch a memorable win for King’s in the dying minutes of the game. However, a few crucial mistakes at lineout time for King’s meant that the home side was unable to convert the pressure in to points.
Following the loss to Sacred Heart, the first round of pool play in the hotly contested 6A competition comes to an end. The King’s 6A outfit who have fought valiantly every Saturday morning will now look to make amends in the second round of pool play as they look to take on St. Peters College 6A at the Auckland Domain with a scheduled 9:15am kickoff.