01 Aug 2023

Tuesday 01 August 2023

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

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King's First XV played St Paul's College on the weekend

First XV 13 – 20 St Paul’s College

An intercept try in the final play of the game sunk the First XV as they lost 13-20 to St Paul's College on Saturday.

Heavy ground underfoot at St Paul's made life tough for both sides and did not cater to running rugby, despite the sunny conditions.

King's were the first side on the board with an early penalty through fullback Luca Fuller (Year 13, Selwyn), as the visitors tried to make the most of the breeze at their backs.

Errors proved costly for King's, as they were unable to capitalise on a weight of territory and possession. St Paul's grabbed the first try of the contest in the 20th minute to go ahead 3-7, a lead they took to halftime.

The opening stages of the second spell proved challenging for King's, as St Paul's used their pick-and-go strategy to grind away at the First XV. St Paul's added two further penalties to build a 10-point lead heading into the final 15 minutes of the match.

Ill-discipline caught up with St Paul's, as they went down to 13 men with two players in the sin bin for separate incidents in quick succession.

The numerical advantage eventually paid off for King's, as vice-captain Oliver Hatch (Year 13, Major), who was one of the team's best performers, scored a five-pointer before wing James Ford (Year 13, Parnell) grabbed a try of his own to level the score at 13-all.

King's were strong in the set-piece throughout the contest, and with time nearly up they had possession in the center of the field as they searched for the game-winning points. However, a stray pass found the hands of a St Paul's player, who scooted away to seal the win.

King's captain Levi Gwynne (Year 13, Parnell) said it was a disappointing way to lose after erasing the 10-point deficit.

"Proud of the boys for fighting back from being down 13-3 with about 10 minutes to go. Heartbreaking loss, intercept try in the last minute to win it, but that's sport," Gwynne said.

The result left King's in ninth place on the ladder, as they earned a bonus point for being within seven.

They will round out their 2023 1A campaign with a home fixture against local rivals De La Salle College on Saturday, August 5 at 2:30pm.

"We are looking forward to the challenge next week at home," Gwynne said.

"The boys are really pumped to come back and make up for Saturday's loss."


2nd XV 8 - 13 St Peter’s College

The 2nd XV travelled to College Rifles to contest the inaugural Kempson/Waalkens Trophy, played on Friday night under lights. A highly anticipated fixture that the team enjoys playing in and having the opportunity to play at Rifles.

Both teams were highly motivated, and the first quarter was very firing. Both teams showed their intent to play expansive rugby and dominate the collision area.

St Peters opened the scoring with a long-range penalty, and shortly after, Zion Savaka (Year 11, Peart) replied with one for King's. The score was tied at 3-3 at halftime, and the game was developing into a real arm wrestle.

St Peters managed another penalty after an offside infringement. King's had several opportunities to take the lead, dominating territory in the second half, but repeated errors led to turnovers in the red zone.

St Peters managed to capitalise on some strong running and continuity to score and take a 13-3 lead. King's were desperately on attack, and Charlie Burn (Year 11, School) crossed to score from a quick tap penalty. The team had a few minutes to launch another attack for the win, but opted for a chip kick, turning over possession. The game finished 13-8 to St Peters, and was a thoroughly intense game, played in good spirits in front of both Kempson and Waalkens (Selwyn House).


1R King’s College 34 - 9 Westlake Boys High School

The fields at Westlake Boys' High School were too waterlogged to be safely played upon, so all matches were moved to the Glenfield Rugby Club yesterday. This worked in our favor, as we played on the #1 field that was in perfect shape. Coupled with the stunningly beautiful day that was, we were able to play some very good, structured rugby that allowed us to score four unanswered tries in the first half, one of which was converted by Louie Ballan (Year 13, Parnell) to turn around 22-6 up at halftime.

Before the game, I asked the forwards to provide good ball for the backs to use, and then for the ball to be spun wide to give our outside backs some opportunities to unleash their speed. Pleasingly, three of those four first-half tries were indeed scored by the two wingers - Sacha Foenander (Year 12, School) with a brace and Nick Withers (Year 12, School) with one. Hooker Fin Olde (Year 13, School) chimed in with a well-taken try, and this 16-point halftime lead allowed me to clear "the bench" in the second half to give the reserves some valued game time.

In the second half, a few errors crept in that gave them opportunities inside our half. However, our defense held strong, and they were only able to add one further penalty, whilst we added to further tries to No. 8 Nick Dingley (Year 13, Selwyn) and center Louie Ballan, who also kicked one conversion to end the game 34-9 winners.

We now have our two toughest games against SHC at home next Saturday and then AGS away in the final round. We are already guaranteed a top-four finish, however, we must win one of the last two games to earn a home semi-final. There is still so much to play for and lots more work to be done over the next couple of weeks.

At the end of the match yesterday, we farewelled my assistant coach, Bastien Guillermin, who is returning home to France next week after spending a year here on a working visa. I am deeply grateful for the work that he did - particularly with the backs - and just for being so professional, reliable, and passionate about the game and helping develop our boys in becoming better rugby players.


5A 19 - 29 St Peter's College 

King's College's loyal 25 players embarked on another rugby adventure against St Peter's College on Saturday at "The Cage" on Mountain Road and its artificial surface.

Despite trying warm-up conditions, the team started well and it was some time before St Peter's went ahead twice. King's hit straight back through a great intercept try by Fraser Brown (Year 11, Peart) to be 5-14 down.

The forwards mixed it well with a stoic St Peter's pack, and the King's backline always looked to push the St Peter's defense. We went down another try, and at halftime the score of 12-21 flattered the home team after a great team try saw CJ Hooker (Year 11, Parnell) dive over.

More steadying words at halftime were sadly unheeded, and another try was conceded. King's then hit back through a great intercept try by Fraser Brown. This was King's last scoring moment, and many errors and loose carries meant we went down 19-29.


6A King’s 10 - 18 Sacred Heart

Could Have; Should Have; BUT Didn’t...

A beautiful winter morning saw the visit of Sacred Heart to Kings. This was always going to be a tough game between two well-matched sides.

Kings started well and put some heat on Sacred Heart, but could not get the points on the board. Again, some basic errors and not playing to the game plan put the team under some needless pressure. Sacred Heart scored an excellent first try, and showed they were here to win by taking the 3 points on offer when a penalty was awarded in front of the posts.

Kings were a little punch-drunk, and another excellent Sacred Heart try before half-time meant that this was turning into a hard day at the office.

Half-Time: Kings 0 Sacred Heart 13.

The team played much better in the second half. There were strong runs from Ollie Kittle (Year 11, Parnell) and Jack Reid (Year 10, School). Rafe Parore (Year 10, St John’s) ran the back line really well, and Kasey Lewis (Year 10, Greenbank) continued his excellent form by scoring an outstanding individual try. This brought the score back to 5-13.

However, Sacred Heart were too disciplined and more hungry, and when they scored again in the corner, the win was sealed. The Kings players did fight back in the last 5 minutes, and were rewarded with a late try to James Shaw (Year 10, School).

This game was lost in the final inches. The team needs to regroup and focus on the final 2 games against MacLeans and Botany Downs.

Player of the Day: Rafe Parore. Tries: Kasey Lewis, James Shaw.


U14A King's College 10 vs 19 De La Salle 

A highly motivated U14 Open King's team showed up to play De La Selle Maroon on their home ground this Saturday, and it showed in a highly disciplined and well-constructed first half led by team captain and first five Cale Ngatai (Year 9, Parnell).

Withstanding a sustained period of defense from kick-off, our boys tackled like demons as the monstrous DLS forwards worked hit-ups in pods from ruck ball. Non-contestable scrums were a feature throughout this match (the significant size difference in forward packs posed a safety risk), therefore most penalties awarded resulted in a scrum called for both sides. Against the run of play, left winger Ben Wilson's (Year 9, Peart) first run in open play came oh-so-close to a try, well set up by the inside backs through the hand. His second run was built on some slick combination work between U15A halfback Leewes Natana-Hemara (Year 9, St John’s) and an offload-in-the-tackle by Ngatai in our own 22.

As King's began to slowly gain territory midway through the first half, DLS conceded a penalty in front of the goalposts, which was dutifully converted by Ngatai. Upon kick-off, King's conceded a penalty in our 22, which Ngatai kicked to the touchline. The punt fell short, but was immediately gathered by fullback Ollie Anderson (Year 9, Greenbank), hot on the chase, stepped, and burnt off four defenders to score a well-celebrated solo try under the sticks. Ngatai converted the try. Determined, DLS regathered and launched back into attack soon after, scoring in reply, capitalising on 2 or 3 missed tackles midfield. The try was converted, bringing the score to 10-7. Off the back of a midfield attacking scrum, some great hands by the backs set up a blistering run by right winger Jack Burns (Year 9, Peart), who eluded two tackles only to be stopped 5 meters short of the try line by a desperate DLS tackle.

King's was immediately hard on defense again in the beginning of the second half, which was characterised by the same DLS focus on using their large forwards to creep the gain line using hit-ups from pods of three. King's slowly lost the discipline shown in the first half, resulting in penalties - tap-ball or attacking scrum gifts for DLS - which allowed them to gradually build attacking pressure. A frustrated referee marched King's at least a couple of times for back chat, and even offered a parent or two the opportunity to continue his work on-field! DLS's second try, scored early in the half, was built on three phases of pick-and-go from an attacking lineout 10 meters out. Declining discipline saw a King's player sent off for a high tackle, and a DLS player 5 minutes later for the same. King's had several try-scoring opportunities late in the half which were unrealised through errors. Fullback Ollie Anderson saved a breakaway try with a great chase and tackle in the left corner. A dropped pass midfield on attack while in our half allowed DLS to capitalise on the mistake, and seal off the game with a final score of 19-10.

A frustrating game of two halves, but hopefully lots of lessons learned. A huge shout out to the forwards who showed real guts and cohesion. The lineouts worked well, and real improvements in ball retention and ruck defense demonstrated especially in the first half of this match. Our thanks to the U15A boys Noah Moss (Year 9, Parnell) and Leewes Natana-Hemara who showed up to help out again, playing to their usual high standard. Onwards and upwards lads. Virtus Pollet.

Tries: Ollie Anderson. Conversion: Cale Ngatai (1/1). Penalty: Cale Ngatai (1).


U15A King’s College 28 – 26 Sacred Heart

King's U15A were fortunate to be playing at home on our number 1 field, knowing that if we wanted to make the semifinals, we had to win our last three games. First up was a strong Sacred Heart team. Both teams arrived early to perfect rugby conditions, and this was going to be an exciting game. The players knew how important a win would be.

King's started well, and after 12 minutes, they disrupted a Sacred lineout and the backs were able to move the ball from one side of the field to the other. Jamie Ludbrook (Year 10, St John’s) scored out wide, and Calvin Harris-Tavita (Year 10, Parnell) added the conversion for a 7-0 lead. Not long after, King's did a fast tap and go from their own 22m. Noah Moss (Year 9, Parnell) was able to stretch Sacred's defense, and from a nice short side play by Ruka Smythe (Year 10, Parnell) and Calvin Harris-Tavita would see Calvin ran 30m untouched along the sideline to extend King's lead. Calvin was again able to convert from out wide for a 14-0 lead. Sacred scored the only other points of the first half, leaving King's leading 14-5.

Sacred started the second half well with a quick try and conversion to narrow the score to 14-12. King's looked like scoring from a good lineout drive, but Sacred were awarded a penalty right on their try line to relieve the pressure. A nice backline play saw Parekaahu Keepa (Year 10, Parnell) break the defensive line and go close to scoring, however Sacred were again awarded another penalty right on the try line. Sacred then received multiple penalties and would find themselves scoring close to the posts to take the lead.

Not long after, King's had a scrum, and from a great set piece play, Ruka Smythe passed to Parekaahu Keepa, who took on the defense. Sosaia Manu (Year 11, Averill) ran an impressive line, which opened a great hole for Parekaahu to pass to Calvin Harris-Tavita, who scored for King's to retake the lead. With only 5 minutes to play, the game still had a lot of key moments to happen. After multiple phases, Sacred Heart scored out wide and looked to have stolen the victory. However, with a minute to play, King's showed a lot of heart, composure, and never give up attitude. From the kick off, Sacred were showing great ball retention. The referee now indicated time was up, and Sacred went to throw a long pass to kick the ball out. However, Sosaia Manu was able to do a great intercept and a nice inside pass to Parekaahu Keepa to score close to the posts to tie the game. The ground went silent, and King's held their breath until Calvin Harris-Tavita kicked the conversion for King's victory 28-26. Our season was well and truly still alive.

Upfront, Bassy Tupou (Year 10, Marsden) had a solid game and was well supported by Levick Nu'uausala (Year 10, Marsden), Max Gilbert (Year 10, Selwyn), Loghan Pulotu-McCarthy (Year 11, Parnell), Gus Iversen (Year 10, Major), Koby Schaumkel (Year 10, Selwyn), and Rodney Winiata (Year 10, Parnell), to name a few. In the backs, our midfield pairing of Sosaia Manu and Parekaahu Keepa were very good, and they were well supported by Ruka Smythe, Karson Hawkins (Year 10, Parnell), and Noah Moss. Calvin Harris-Tavita was all class and had a perfect day with the boot, kicking four from four, two being from the sideline.

The team will now regroup on Tuesday knowing they have another must win game at home against Dilworth this Saturday.

Tries: Jamie Ludbrook, Calvin Harris-Tavita (2), and Parekaahu Keepa. Conversion: Calvin Harris-Tavita (4).


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Tuesday 25th July Rescheduled Game

U15A King’s College 12 - 34 St Kentigern

On Tuesday night, King's U15A hosted St Kentigern. Considering all the recent rain, we were fortunate to have great underfoot conditions playing on Field 2. Both teams wanted to impose their physical dominance, and from the kick-off, Parekaahu Keepa (Year 10, Parnell) set the tone with a great tackle.

King's wanted to start fast, and only 3 minutes in, a quick clearance on the short side from Ruka Smythe (Year 10, Parnell) and a nice short pass from Calvin Harris-Tavita (Year 10, Parnell) put Parekaahu Keepa over the try line. Calvin was able to convert for a 7-0 lead. King's dominated the first 15 minutes but were unable to add further points to the score.

After 18 minutes, and against the run of play, St Kentigern were able to score under the post, and not long after would score two more tries to take a 19-7 halftime lead.

King's started the second half well and looked to score two further tries to Jamie Ludbrook (Year 10, St John’s) and Calvin Harris-Tavita, but the referee was not in a position to see or award either. King's would keep pressuring the St Kentigern try line, however penalties to St Kentigern would allow them to kick themselves out of pressure.

After 9 minutes, St Kentigern caught King's short side napping to score another try. King's would now lift the tempo, and multiple fast clearances from our halfback through great ball presentation from our forwards allowed Noah Moss (Year 9, Parnell) to score a great try out wide. The next 15 minutes, King's would again dominate territory and possession. With only 2 minutes to play, St Kentigern scored a further 10 points to win 34-12. The score line was not a true reflection of the closeness of the game, but highlighted the strength of St Kentigern's counter-attack and ability to convert their opportunities into points.

Upfront, Levick Nu'uausala (Year 10, Marsden) would make some telling runs and was well supported by Bassy Tupou (Year 10, Marsden), Wyatt Empson (Year 10, St John’s), Max Gilbert (Year 10, Selwyn), Loghan Pulotu-McCarthy (Year 11, Parnell), Jamie Ludbrook, and Rodney Winiata (Year 10, Parnell), to name a few. In the backs, Parekaahu Keepa, Calvin Harris-Tavita, Ruka Smythe, and D'Angelo Tupou (Year 11, Parnell) would have a high work rate, and Noah Moss had a solid second half after starting from the bench.

The team now have three must-win games if they want to hopefully make the semifinals, but Sacred Heart will be a very tough challenge this week at home.

Tries: Parekaahu Keepa and Noah Moss. Conversion: Calvin Harris-Tavita.