U15A 22 - 10 Westlake Boy's High School
GRADE FINAL AT COLLEGE RIFLES RUGBY CLUB
King’s College and Westlake were expecting a close battle in the U15A grade final which had been moved to the neutral venue of College Rifles Rugby Club on a Wednesday with a 4pm kick off. Both teams arrived early and you could feel the tension in the air. King’s were fortunate to have Zarn Sullivan present with the team when they recieved their game day jerseys and encouraged the team with some inspirational words. A mid-week and late start time would be new to both teams however the weather was perfect and the teams were hoping to put on a good performance in front of our largest and most vocal crowd of the season; this was going to be a big occasion!
From the kick off both teams were looking to impose their physical dominance and the collisions could be heard from the side-line. King’s would put first points on the board with a penalty to Evan Nathan-Patuawa. Not long after Westlake would be rewarded a penalty which they would convert to move the game to 3 all. King’s would earn another opportunity to kick a penalty however the team felt confident to kick to the corner. Unfortunately we lost our lineout and Westlake were able to exit and relieve the pressure.
For the remainder of first half Westlake would apply a lot of pressure to our defence. Our uncharacterised errors, miss kicks and struggling lineout would allow Westlake to keep building pressure. King’s resilience had to be commended, our scrambling and goal line defence was outstanding. However, close to half time Westlake would score to take a 10-3 lead and King’s would lose a player to the bin right on half time to add to the pressure.
King’s regrouped, our focus was on playing our game, being more accurate, more disciplined and to lift our intensity. The start of the second half you could feel the momentum changing, we were starting to play the better rugby and Westlake were starting to tire. The second half would be all King’s. Evan Nathan-Patuawa would kick another penalty to move the score to 10-6. Not long after King’s would score a great try out wide to outstanding forward Johan Schaumkell to move King’s back into the lead.
Only 3 minutes later another impressive forward Hemana Connew would score out wide to extend King’s lead. Soon after Evan Nathan-Patuawa would kick another penalty, King’s now had a 19-10 lead. King’s were now finding space out wide and were stretching Westlake’s defence, our lift in intensity could be seen right across the field. With only minutes to play Evan Nathan-Patuawa would kick his fourth penalty of the game for a final score of 22-10, King’s were the U15A grade champions for only our second time in history.
Tries: Johan Schaumkell, Hemana Connew, Penalties:4 Evan Nathan-Patuawa
Both teams thoroughly deserved to be playing in such a great final. King’s showed a lot of character and heart to absorb all the first half pressure and turn the game around in the second half the way we did. It took a whole team effort, 1 through to 22 to win this final, the Coaches and Management could not be any prouder of the team and our wider squad.
Upfront our hardworking loose forward trio of Johan Schaumkell, Hemana Connew, and Ethan Ola would be outstanding along with Sione Manupangai who lead our tight five well. In the backs Saia Manu and TJ Anae-Paila were all class and well supported by the rest of our backline. Evan Nathan-Patuawa would have a great game of the tee while our bench provided the impact we needed. Huge congratulations to the team, well done and all the best tournament week.
A huge thank-you to all the those who came along to Rifles to support us, especially to Housemasters for co-ordinating this for boarders, the vocal support really lifted the team in the second half. Also many thanks to Bevan Cadwallader and Old Collegian Trent Freeman at College Rifles for the fantastic hospitality.
1R 14 - 16 Auckland Boy's Grammar School
GRADE SEMI-FINAL AT AUCKLAND BOY'S GRAMMAR SCHOOL
When we met AGS in pool-play, the game ended in a 7-all draw, so we knew that this semi-final match would most likely be another tight encounter and would come down to moments in the match and probably who could maintain their discipline better. Playing on the Grammar #1 field is always a privilege and the conditions were perfect for both teams to play running rugby although there was quite a strong wind blowing straight down the ground that Grammar had first use of.
Our boys started the game well and although playing into the wind, had the majority of possession. It was a real struggle between two evenly-matched teams with neither team giving an inch. Grammar were first to score a well-taken try that was converted, but we equalised not long after when the boys put multiple phases together and Captain Will Tingey finished off some strong forward play. Misha Craig kicked a superb sideline conversion into the strong wind and it seemed we would turn around all tied-up at 7-all. However, Ill-discipline allowed Grammar to kick a late penalty to end the half with a narrow 10-7 lead.
Instructions were laid down at halftime and the plan was to use the strong wind to pin Grammar inside their own half and then try to force the errors that could result in kickable penalties being awarded. Alas, we did not execute the game plan very well and found ourselves mostly defending in our own half. Again, poor discipline allowed Grammar to convert another penalty to push their lead out to 13 – 7, but once again, our boys responded with another well-taken try set up by the forward pack that went to work and created a scoring opportunity out wide. Lachie Marshall converted and we held a narrow 1 point lead. At this point we lost our direction and discipline at times and Grammar were again awarded a kickable penalty, which they converted and the final 10 minutes was a dour struggle with both teams throwing everything at each other. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and Grammar were deserved 16 – 14 winners and earned themselves a place in the final against SHC.
This was a disappointing way to end the season as we played some superb rugby throughout the season and all of the players made huge improvements, both as a team and also as individuals and it was a huge pleasure to coach such a wonderful group of young men that were great ambassadors for the College.
On Monday afternoon we travel to Wellington to contest the inaugural U85kg National schoolboys tournament. This will be a nice way to end a memorable season and for our Year 13 lads to finish their rugby careers representing King’s College.