First XV 22 - 58 Sacred Heart College
The First XV went down 22-58 to Sacred Heart College in their opening game of the Auckland 1A competition at King’s College on Saturday.
Despite persistent drizzle throughout the traditional match there were plenty of points on offer as both sides showed attacking intent. King’s went into the game with 12 of their match-day squad making their 1A debut. The young side were given a quick reminder of how tough the 1A competition is when Sacred Heart scored inside the opening five minutes.
Building on an earlier penalty, Sacred Heart shot out to an 0-8 lead, and they steadily added to their advantage as the opening half progressed. Despite a try to King’s captain Levi Gwynne (Year 13, Parnell), who overcame a knock to his knee in the warm-up to take the field, and some points from the boot of fullback Luca Fuller (Year 13, Selwyn), King’s went into the halftime break down 10-29.
The home side made a promising start to the second spell as openside flanker Johan Schaumkell (Year 11, School) scored from close range. Following Fuller’s conversion, King’s trailed 15-29 but that was as close as they got as Sacred Heart turned things up a notch as the second half wore on. King’s No 11 James Ford (Year 13, Parnell) marked his 1A debut with a late try but it was ultimately not enough as Sacred Heart retained the Fitzpatrick-Kirkpatrick Cup.
Gwynne, who led from the front with some strong carries and key tackles, said the team showed plenty of fight, despite the lopsided score line. “Real tough game here out on the pitch today,” he said after the match. “But, really proud of the boys for sticking in. Sacred – big ups to them, good team, really gave it to us today. [Our] boys showed character out here today, not giving up, giving it their all till that last minute so [I’m] proud of the boys on the effort.”
King’s had their moments during the contest but Sacred Heart, who were beaten semi-finalists in the 1A last season, were slick on attack and made the most of their opportunities off the back of their large forward pack.
As part of a challenging start to the season, King’s have an away meeting with back-to-back defending champions Kelston Boys’ High School on Saturday. “Looking for the boys to come back on Monday, bounce back. Big week of preparation for that game and [we are] just looking for a win next week,” Gwynne said.
King’s College and Westlake were expecting a close battle in the first official game of the season. This was King’s third year in a row having to travel across the bridge to play Westlake who are always hard to beat at home. Both teams arrived early and you could feel the tension in the air. The weather was forecast for rain and wind, this was going to be a tough first up challenge.
U15 A 19 - 10 Westlake Boy's High School
King’s had been working hard on their kick receives during the week but again struggled. From the kick off and for the first few minutes Westlake pressured our defence which held strong. Our uncharacterised errors and early high penalty count would allow Westlake to keep building pressure. However, King’s resilience had to be commended as our scrambling and goal line defence was outstanding. King’s looked like we were going to put the first points on the board early however a try saving tackle by Westlake kept the score nil all. King’s regrouped with a focus on playing our game, being more accurate, more disciplined and lifting our intensity. You could feel the momentum changing, we were starting to play better rugby and after 18 minutes hard working loose forward Jamie Ludbrook (Year 10, Major) would score in the corner for Calvin Harris-Tavita (Year 10, Parnell) to convert from wide out. Close to half time Westlake would not find touch, giving ever elusive Calvin Harris-Tavita time and space which would result in a great team try to Parekaahu Keepa (Year 10, Averill) and again Calvin was able to convert for a 14 nil half time lead.
Second half would start very well for King’s with highly impressive openside flanker Charlie Burn (Year 11, School) stretching Westlake’s defence after fast clearance from Ruka Smythe (Year 10, Parnell) and a nice pass from Matt Cunningham (Year 10, Greenbank) to score in the corner and stretch King’s lead to 19 nil. The rain now set in and Westlake had a good wind advantage. Straight from the kick off King’s made an error and Westlake were able to convert to move the score to 19-5. Not long after another King’s error would lead to a second Westlake try for the final score of 19-10 to King’s College, a great start to the season.
Upfront hardworking loose forwards Charlie Burn and Jamie Ludbrook would be outstanding along with Loghan Pulotu-McCarthy (Year 11, Parnell) who led our tight five well. Koby Schaumkel (Year 10, Selwyn) made an impact after starting on the bench in an unfamiliar position playing on the wing. In the backs Parekaahu Keepa, Ruka Smythe and Felix Spary (Year 10, Selwyn) were all class on defence while Calvin Harris-Tavita was always a threat with ball in hand.
Our focus for the week will be on our one percenters and physicality in the contact, the team look forward to playing at home against Liston and putting on a good team performance.
Tries – Jamie Ludbrook, Parekaahu Keepa and Charlie Burn (Year 11, School)
Conversions – Calvin Harris-Tavita