27 May 2023

Saturday 27 May 2023

Read on for a wrap-up of last weekend's games.

1st XV 16 vs 15 Dilworth

The First XV scored a last-gasp 16-15 victory over Dilworth School at King’s College on Saturday, marking their first win of the 1A campaign.

One week after losing to Mount Albert Grammar School via a penalty goal with the final act of the game, it was the First XV’s turn to claim victory in the same fashion against Dilworth.

With time up on the clock and trailing 13-15, a long-range penalty attempt from King’s drifted wide of the posts but Dilworth gave away another penalty when attempting to clear the ball.  King’s fullback Luca Fuller (Year 13, Selwyn) then made no mistake as his penalty goal secured the win, sparking jubilant scenes among the team and supporters.

It was a scrappy game at times with both sides trying to find their rhythm and King’s got on the board first as wing James Ford scored in the corner. The First XV only had the better of the scoreboard for about 10 minutes before the visitors answered back but vice-captain Oliver Hatch (Year 13, Major) grabbed a five-pointer following a lineout drive in the 25th minute as King’s took a 10-5 lead to halftime.

Dilworth started the second spell strongly and they again drew level with a try but in a challenging day for the goalkickers, another conversion attempt went wide. With the scores locked at 10-10 and the weather taking a turn for the worse, Fuller put King’s in front with a penalty goal in the 54th minute. Despite enjoying their share of territory and possession, the First XV were unable to build on their three-point advantage and Dilworth looked like they had secured a famous win when an intercept try with only two minutes left saw them go ahead. But another missed conversion attempt left the door ajar for King’s.

Following a frenetic finish where King’s were awarded a long-range penalty with time up on up clock, a close attempt from Harrison Martin (Year 12, Selwyn) went just wide of the post, Dilworth caught the ball in the in goal and threw the ball over the dead ball line, which resulted in a penalty in front of the posts. Fuller ensured the penalty went over and the team grabbed four vital competition points, using their “get out of jail card to full extent”.

Captain Levi Gwynne (Year 13, Parnell), who ran with purpose all game alongside prop Flynn Hamilton-Muller, said it was a valuable win.  “Credit to the Dilworth boys, really good [forward] pack, good team. Really gave it to us till that last whistle and proud of the boys for that close win,” Gwynne said.

With King’s Birthday this weekend, the team have a week off before travelling to Auckland Grammar School for the traditional fixture that will start at 2.30pm on Saturday 10 June.


2A 15 vs 33 Sacred Heart College

The 2nd XV had the first home game of the morning facing a formidable Sacred side who won the competition last year and have been benefiting from training as a wider squad with their 1st XV all season. Sacred showed their forward power and organisation early in the first half, scoring 3 tries through their driving maul. King’s manged to grab a late try in the half to end the first half at 19-10.

With the King’s defence looking good in general play the team just needed to sort out their set piece in the second half. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and Sacred scored again early in the second half with another driving maul extending their lead to 26-10.  With the King’s lineout also struggling to win ball and turning possession over, Sacred took their opportunity to capitalise again and go out to a 33-10 lead. On a positive note it was good to see Dillon Vaoga (Year 13, Averill) make his return to the game after a long recovery from shoulder surgery, he also scored a nice try close range try showing his ability to run good lines and finish. Solid games from captain Bailey Harris (Year 12, St John’s) who again led from the front, tackling everything and always giving his all, Sam Gapes (Year 11, Selwyn) also coming into form. Liam Denny (Year 13, Peart) and Saia Manu (Year 11, Averill) added some punch to the midfield and defended well together while Kahu Cotterill (Year 12, School) showed his speed on several occasions but couldn’t quite connect to make that last pass. The final score being 33-15.

Tries: Zion Savaka (Year 11, Peart), Dillon Voaga.

Conversions: Zion Savaka, Penalties: Kace Hipkins-Taimai (Year 11, Parnell)


1R 0 vs 14 Auckland Grammar

Our match preparations changed mid-week when we found out that the pools had changed from two pools of seven teams, to a top eight pool and a bottom six pool. We were originally due to play AGS ‘B’ team away at AGS, but instead we played the AGS ‘A’ team here at King’s. This was our third and final non-championship round and I wanted to give a couple of the younger members a final opportunity to stake their claim for a starting spot when the championship rounds commence in two weeks’ time.

We knew that Grammar would be a good side and they were well-drilled and disciplined. The game was an arm wrestle with both teams defending with passion and neither willing to give an inch. Eventually Grammar was able to score a well-deserved try, that was also converted and we turned around 0 – 7 down. In the second half, the tussle continued – back and forth with neither team able to score any points. With 5 minutes left, inside their 22m, Will Smith (Year 13, Selwyn) made a break and looked to make an inside pass back into Charlie Hunn (Year 13, St John’s). He would have scored under the bar and the match may have ended up a 7 – all draw. Unfortunately, the inside pass was intercepted by the last defender who sprinted the length of the field to score under the bar, the conversion was successful to put an end to any chance of a comeback.

The 14 – 0 final score was not a fair reflection of the match, although they took their chances and deserved their victory today.


U15A KC 22 vs 21 Mount Albert Grammar School

King’s U15A would find ourselves travelling away to play against MAGS, the weather was overcast with a good breeze but great underfoot conditions.  King’s knew heading into a bye weekend it would be important to continue our good start to the season with an away win.

From the kick off you could tell this would be a close game and the score would change hands on multiple occasions.  From the first scrum of the game Ruka Smythe (Year 10, Parnell) would put a good tackle on the MAGS big no8 to set the tone for the first half of the game.  After 10 minutes King’s through a nice short side play by Ruka Smythe and Calvin Harris-Tavita (Year 10, Parnell) would put Matt Cunningham (Year 10, Greenbank) into space who would do a great chip, chase and regather to score the first points of the game, Calvin was able to convert for a 7-nil lead.  The next 7 minutes would be a tight battle and with 10 minutes to go in the first half MAGS was able to score close to the posts for a 7 - 7 half time score. 

In the second half MAGS was able to score and convert early to take a 14 - 7 lead.  King’s would re-group and start to play some good rugby.  From a lineout maul Jamie Ludbrook (Year 10, Major) would break away around the 22m mark to score a great try.  Not long after King’s would find themselves having an attacking scrum on the right edge and from a nice set piece play Matt Cunningham would score his second try of the game in the left corner for King’s to regain the lead.  With about 7 minutes to go King’s ill-discipline and poor defensive effort would allow MAGS to score and convert to take a 21 - 17 lead.  King’s now knew we needed to regain the ball from the kick off and play to our strengths.  Jamie Ludbrook would come close to scoring again in the corner, the ref awarded the try but the King’s linesman correctly ruled a knock on however thankfully King’s were playing under an advantage.  From a scrum we attacked the right edge and from another nice short side play between Ruka Smythe and Max Caughey (Year 10, Peart) would put Calvin Harris-Tavita in the corner.

With only a couple minutes to play King’s knew MAGS were going to throw everything at us however our red zone and scrambling defence had to be commended.  In the last play of the game MAGS would create an overlap in our 22 however a try saving tackle by Jamie Ludbrook would force MAGS to knock on and King’s would win 22 - 21 in a thriller.

Upfront Jamie Ludbrook would have an outstanding game and he was well supported by hard working forwards Tyler-Rex Samasoni-Tukuitonga (Year 10, Averill), Max Gilbert (Year 10, Selwyn) and Gus Iversen (Year 10, Major) to name a few.  Kilifi Setoga (Year 10, Major) who had been unwell during the week was excited to get some game time and a win against his old school.  In the backs Ruka Smythe had a great game along with Parekaahu Keepa (Year 10, Parnell), Matt Cunningham and D’Angelo Tupou (Year 11, Parnell) while Calvin Harris-Tavita again looked impressive ball in hand. With no game next weekend, the team will work hard over the next two weeks on our accuracy, shape and set piece, well-done team.

Tries:  Matt Cunningham 2, Jamie Ladbrook and Calvin Harris-Tavita


6A 12 vs 39 Auckland Grammar

The score does not truly tell the story of the match. King’s knew that AGS came in expecting a walkover. Perhaps Ollie Kittle (Year 11, Parnell) scoring a try, which was converted by Kasey Lewis (Year 10, Greenbank), after 2 minutes was the worst thing to do. Did we poke the bear? This is a good and well drilled Grammar side who King’s matched for most of the first half. The scrum was unrecognisable from last week’s retreating unit. Sam Coulter (Year 10, Averill) was dominant in the line out. There were excellent turnovers from Carter Stewart (Year 10, School), Toby Willis (Year 9 Selwyn) and Charlie Robertson (Year 10, School). Some bulldozing runs from Ollie Kettle and Tate Chong (Year 10, Greenbank) and excellent tackles from Rafe Parore (Year 10, St John’s) and Kasey Lewis. At 8-7 with only a few minutes to half time we were well in the game. Then Grammar pounced on some poor decision making in our 22 and scored. Half-Time: King’s 7 Grammar 15

Youth is wasted on the young, so the old adage goes. As all old, ex-rugby players know the most dangerous time in a game is when you have just scored a try and the last and first minutes before and after half time. We received the kick off, but poor decisions meant the ball was turned over and within 80 seconds Grammar had extended their lead. King’s went ‘turtle’ and retreated into their shell and the result was another 2 quick tries and the game was out of sight. Or was it? Josh Want (Year 10, Major), he of no boots fame, went on a mazy run that Benny Hill would have been proud of, and scored a sensational try. The dander was up and from the kick off King’s had another chance but poor decision making meant the chance was gone.

Grammar scored a try in the final play to make the score look much worse than the performance was. The King’s players gave them a game and we just need to play for 70 minutes like we did for the first 10.

Tries: Ollie Kittle (Conversion Kasey Lewis), Josh Want. Player of the Day: Carter Stewart


Under 15R 24 - 7 Sacred Heart College

On a perfect morning for rugby, King’s, playing into the wind in the first half, started strongly, dominating possession and territory with good continuity between the backs and forwards. Strong running from Rocco van Velzen (Year 9, Marsden) and Harry Rutherford (Year 10, Greenbank), who was outstanding in attack and defence all game, along with some good kicking from Hugh Smithies (Year 9, Parnell) kept the pressure on Sacred. King’s came close to scoring in the left-hand corner after good hands along the backline but the ball was spilled over the line. However, the first try followed soon after with Archie Gore (Year 9, School) crashing over after a quick tap penalty. We didn't have to wait long for second try, which came after King’s were awarded a penalty in the Sacred 22 and the strong running Ed Duncan (Year 9, Greenbank) took a quick tap and scored under the posts. The try was converted and King’s went into half time leading 12-0.

The second half was a scrappy affair with the Sacred forwards coming much more into the game and King’s becoming a little disorganised. There were notable defensive interventions from Harry Rutherford and his younger brother Charlie Rutherford (Year 9, Greenbank) both putting in some big hits and the ever-reliable Caleb Francis (Year 9, School) stopping a number of strong running Sacred forwards in their tracks. A 40-metre break by Harry Rutherford turned defence into attack for King’s putting the pressure back on Sacred. Ed Duncan picked up from a scrum 5 metres from the Sacred line and passed to Hugh Smithies who dived over the line to make the score 17-0 to the home side.

King’s were soon back on the attack with great interplay between backs and forwards taking them back into the Sacred 22, with Harry Rutherford eventually crashing over to score. With the conversion by Hugh Smithies the score was 24-0. King’s started to make some mistakes after that which put pressure on themselves. From a line out a strong Sacred tackle dislodged the ball and showing some good soccer skills the Sacred number 8 kicked through a couple of times and dived on the ball to score with the conversion making it 24-7 to King’s which is how the game finished. A good win for King’s but plenty for the coaches to work on at training this week. 

U14A 0 vs 76 Auckland Grammar

King’s College U14A put up a brave and spirited challenge on the lower field at Auckland Grammar School on Saturday, but in the end were no match for a well-drilled, experienced Auckland Grammar School U14A side who played like a team possessed.  With little to no territorial advantage throughout the match, our boys struggled in their set piece losing possession in lineouts and scrums. With the several opportunities that we did have to score points, the unrelenting pressure exerted by the Grammar defence forced errors and turnover ball which they adeptly converted into tries. With ball in hand, this Grammar team was a well-oiled machine scoring out wide from well-rehearsed back moves, in-close off scrums or rucks close to our try line, and also from the occasional lineout drive.

Hats off to the U14A boys who can be highly commended for putting up a gallant and continued right up to the bitter end. A tough pill to swallow and thus Grammar have set a high standard for us to follow. Chin up boys! One swallow does not make a summer, and so let’s get back to work on Monday to set us on the path for a win in our next match.

Virtus Pollet.