First XV 39 - 10 Dilworth School
A dominant second-half performance propelled the First XV to an impressive 39-10 victory over Dilworth School on Saturday.
In sunny conditions at Dilworth, the First XV played into a stiff breeze during the first spell and the wind caused problems at lineout time for both teams.
Jonty Willis opened the scoring with an early five-pointer for King’s but they were unable to build on their lead during the first half as a couple of great chances went begging with the try line in their sights.
The home side got on the board with a penalty goal on the stroke of halftime as King’s took a 5-3 lead to the break.
The second half had barely got underway before King’s stamped their mark on the contest as wing Brodey Warren made a great break from the kick-off as King’s marched up the field in search of more points.
While they couldn’t convert that opportunity following Warren’s effort, the floodgates opened about 10 minutes later as King’s were awarded a penalty try before prop Sam Afu and Luca Fuller scored in quick succession as the all-important bonus point was secured.
Dilworth threatened a comeback with a try on the hour-mark, which set the stage for a tense final 10 minutes as both sides were playing to keep their season alive.
But King’s captain Francis Manuleleua ensured the result was put beyond doubt with a long-range penalty goal from inside his own half before Fuller and Warren both scored inside the final few minutes to run up the score. Fuller also added two sideline conversions for good measure.
“It was pretty tough in the first half going towards [the wind], especially against Dilworth, their school has a lot of pride and it definitely showed in that first half,” Manuleleua said.
As for what clicked in the second stanza, Manuleleua said the team hit their stride nicely.
“It’s definitely good to have the wind behind your back and I think that helped us with our tempo and our energy.”
The win left King’s in sixth place on the 1A ladder, two points adrift of the fourth-placed Saint Kentigern College. King’s are still in the hunt for the playoffs with two matches left in the round robin.
Their next match is an away fixture against Tangaroa College on Saturday 6 August at 2.30pm before they round out the regular season with a trip to meet Sacred Heart College a week later.
Tries: Luca Fuller 2, Brodey Warren, Jonty Willis, Josh Olliver, Penalty Try
Penalty kick 1, con 2 Francis Manuleleua, 1 con Luca Fuller
U15A 10 - 7 Westlake BHS
King’s U15A arrived early to Westlake Boys High School for the eagerly anticipated top of the table clash. The weather was perfect, no breeze and good underfoot conditions considering all our recent rain. On arrival we were welcomed by Headmaster David Ferguson who wished both teams all the best. Everyone was expecting a close tough game and both teams did not disappoint.
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 slowly start to gain territory dominance however Westlake’s strong defence and a scrum infringement in our green zone would mean we were unable to convert our opportunities into points. Right on half time Westlake would have an opportunity to put first points on the board however another big tackle by Saia Manu and Zion Savaka would force Westlake to knock on 5m from our try line for the half time score to be nil all.
King’s regrouped at half time and from the kick off would score an outstanding backline try with Saia Manu breaking the line and passing to TJ Anae-Paila to score for a 5 nil lead. King’s would then continue to pressure Westlake’s line but again we were unable to convert our dominance into points. With 10 mins gone in the second half King’s would score another great team try with Calvin Harris-Tavita taking on the line and offloading to TJ Anae-Paila who would score again to extend our lead to 10 nil. King’s were looking the better team but Westlake’s scrambling defence as well as King’s turning over the ball or frequently giving away a penalty in our green zone was keeping Westlake in the game. Westlake started to gain momentum however a second half highlight was Zion Savaka kicking a 50:20 which was actually 22m to 22m huge kick.
The penalty count started to climb against us late in the game and with only 2 minutes to play, Westlake would score under the posts to move the game to 10-7 with Westlake’s supporters up on their feet hoping their team could steal a win. We showed some strong defence and turned the ball over in a tackle in a late flurry from Westlake to score, to take the much deserved win. If this was an indication of the quality of U15 players coming through the college system then 1st XV rugby is in great hands for many years to come.
Our whole team played really well, from 1 through to 22. Upfront our hardworking loose forward trio of Johan Schaumkell, Hemana Connew, and Ethan Ola would be outstanding with our tight five setting a solid platform. In the backs Zion Savaka, Saia Manu, Calvin Harris-Tavita and TJ Anae-Paila were all class and well supported by the rest of our backline.
The team will take away a lot of learnings from this great battle and we look forward to playing at home next weekend against Wesley College. With the top of the points table being so close the next three weeks are going to be very exciting.
We would like to acknowledge the fine sportsmanship showed by the Westlake player who was running the touchline and put his flag up at an important moment of the game and their Coach who came on to the field to add his honest opinion in a discussion with the referee who had awarded a try from that sequence of play to then overturn it.
Tries – TJ Anae-Paila 2
U15B 5 - 29 Aorere College
This week, the U15B team were joined by tighthead prop Tevita Veikoso and Winger Taylor Bai from U15A for a match of two haves against Aorere College at home.
With only one substitute on the bench, the boys had to work hard for the entirety of the game. The first thirty minutes was spent mostly on defence numbering up on multiple-phases of relentless pick-and-go by Aorere oversized point runners. Brave and consistent tackling from loosies Gus Iverson, Ethan Mathewson and Bassy Tupou featured a lot throughout the whole game. The whole team’s confidence grew in direct proportion to the tackle count! A couple of the opposition’s tries were scored opportunistically off our errors near their try line.
After halftime, with lifted determination and resolve, both forwards and backs began to combine better for excellent territorial advantage throughout the second half. On defence, our tight five worked hard on ruck defence to effectively defend Aorere’s big boys one-up hits, forcing opposition errors and turn-over ball to create a good platform for attack. The line defence and first up tackle count improved again by gazillions.
On attack, the backs constructed promising play off set piece and turn-over ball. First-five eight Kace Hipkins controlled the game with increasing confidence feeding inside centre Christopher Hatch good front-foot ball for distribution. Midway through the second half, left winger Johnny Wilson received a long pass from centre Karson Hawkins to burn his opposite man on the outside scoring the only try in the second half. With much improved defence and ball retention, especially in the breakdown, the boys held playing positive and front-foot rugby to the final whistle. A highly commendable second half effort, particularly as we approach the business end of the season.
Tries – Johnny Wilson (1), Conversions: Karson Hawkins (0/1)