11 Jul 2022

Monday 11 July 2022

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

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1st XV 69 - 0 Aorere College

The First XV returned to the winner’s circle with a 69-0 victory over Aorere College at King’s on Saturday.

After suffering a tough loss to Kelston Boys’ High School the previous week, King’s were able to display what they can do when things click.

Playing into a gusty wind the team started slowly, and despite enjoying plenty of territory and possession in the opening stages they made things tough on themselves as ill-discipline and errors proved problematic.

But after wing Brodey Warren scored in the 25th minute to push the lead out to 12-0 following Luca Fuller’s opening try the floodgates opened. From there the First XV scored twice more as they took a 24-0 lead to halftime. With the wind at their backs, they were dominant in the second spell, and all told they ran in 11 tries with captain Francis Manuleleua kicking five conversions from nine attempts, while Fuller added two from two on a day where goal-kicking was particularly tricky due to the wind.

Lock Josh Olliver came up with a couple of nice lineout steals, while flanker Scott Sheffield-Gray carried the ball with plenty of gusto. Right wing Jonty Willis was also dangerous on attack throughout the match. “It was a tough start for us, the wind caused a lot of errors for us and also it was down to Aorere’s passion and pride coming into this game,” Manuleleua said.

“We knew they’re coming off some tough losses, so they were coming out gunning against us. But it was good to get the second half rebuild.”

Manuleleua said the improved second half effort came down to some direct instructions from the coaching staff. “At halftime the message was accuracy. We’d had too many dropped balls, balls not going to hand, so it was just picking up that accuracy level.

“This week was all about our preparation, applying back, and just coming back with a big win.” The result left King’s in seventh place on the 1A ladder with 22 competition points but they’re only two points adrift of Saint Kentigern College who are in fourth. With the 1A competition going on a break during the school holidays, the team’s next 1A fixture is an away trip to Dilworth School on Saturday 30 July before completing the round robin with matches against Tangaroa College and Sacred Heart College. During the holidays, the First XV will host Southland Boys’ High School on Wednesday 13 July before meeting Palmerston North Boys’ High School in an away fixture on Saturday 23 July.

5A Kings 21 - 12 St. Kentigern College

The Kings 5A team travelled away to St Kent’s College for what was expected to be a very tough assignment. Preparations during the week were hampered by sickness in the squad but we did manage some much needed focus on our set piece.

This focus on our scrum and lineout proved invaluable as the weather Gods greeted us with 50km – 60km winds and sideways rain just before kick-off. Winning the toss we elected to play into the wind, and the next 30 minutes saw what could only be described as a heroic effort of guts, determination and a little bit of rugby cunning. Not all went to plan though as we faulted at the start letting their kick off land unclaimed in our 22 so we had to start with a lineout deep in our own territory. We passed that first test in flying colours and worked our way up the field in text book 10-man rugby fashion, working the blind side, changing angles in the backline and holding the ball for long periods.

 For the next 15 minutes we regularly pressured the SKC line against the odds, stealing line out ball through industrious locks Kolby Davis and Ben Jones, and hard tackling from Yonas Mitchell, Oli Bates and others generally forcing the SKC forwards into discipline errors. We benefited as a result finally cleaning up our own discipline and not giving away penalties ourselves. However, anytime we did give away possession SKC easily peeled off 50 meter kicks with the wind at their backs with fullback Zeal Jones having a busy day. This would mean all the hard work would have to start all over again but the boys seemed to be enjoying making the hard yards in the rain. We turned down several kickable penalties in handy positions, which could have been a mistake, but the upside was that we made SKC make a lot of tackles. Just before ½ time SKC intercepted in their own 22, against the run of play, which lead to a try to give SKC an unlikely 7 – 0 lead at ½ time.

Kings started the second ½ a little sloppy taking time to adjust to the wind and rain being behind their backs. When SKC scored early in the second ½ to go 12 – 0 up, many teams would have dropped their heads and capitulated but the Kings team were having no such ideas. Having been the better team for most of the game so far, what was needed with the wind was cool heads, patience, getting closer to each other and running harder into gaps and resisting the temptation to try and play wide open running rugby just because we had the safety net of the wind. This message got through and the Kings forwards started to exert more dominance, carrying hard into holes, with Te Rae Watene, James Wilson, Blake Hayes and Matt Hargraves again prominent with ball in hand. 

After some slick back play center Harry Taylor made a much needed incursion into the SKC 22, and a series of pods followed with further heavy mid field carrying. After what seemed like countless phases SKC started to buckle under pressure and ½ back Dominic Lunjevich seized the opportunity for a smartly taken short range try under the posts, and it was “game on!” at 12 – 7 with plenty of time on the clock. 

From the kick-off the ball was sent deep into SKC territory and it was now time for SKC to be really tested coming back into the wind. The Kings defence across the park was outstanding, and time and time again SKC were pushed back into their 22 anytime they coughed up possession. Generally, it was evident that the SKC exit into the wind was not as good as Kings and this saw most the next 10 minutes played down in the SKC 22. A penalty in a handy position saw Dominic Lunjevich (Man of the Match) seize the advantage with a quick tap and he scooted 15 meters for a well taken brace of tries. This was converted in a tricky position in difficult conditions by Morgan Tapper and Kings now lead 14 – 12 with growing confidence.

The message was well and truly understood this was now a 0 – 0 ball game and anything could happen with 10 to go. Kings really stepped up in this last 10 minutes piling the pressure on SKC and denying them opportunities to exit their ½ and pinning them down in the corners with a good kick chase game. A line out steal from replacement Sam McKay saw Kings mounting more phases in the SKC 22. SKC defended gallantly but an inside ball to hard running Blake Hayes finally unlocked the defence with Blake scoring handy to the posts, which was again converted by Morgan Tapper to see Kings stretch their lead to 21 – 12. Cool heads saw Kings close the game out as SKC tried everything to get the ball back, and an improving Kings team had avenged yet another loss from earlier in the year. Well done to all the boys. This was truly a team win with all 22 match day players and traveling support contributing to a great win.