With a strong start, the first game was an easy win against Mount Roskill Grammar School 32-10. Piki Mihinui scored two outstanding long distance tries in the first half, setting the tone at halftime, 22-5. Chicago Doyle was another standout player, scoring a further two tries and creating space for others. The ‘Man of the Match’ award went to Mitchell Irwin for his relentless effort in attack and defence.
After blowing out the cobwebs the team then faced an unusual opponent, a selected group from the Taupo region.
King's started well, with Trent Taiaroa and Che Clark scoring outstanding team tries with plenty of ball movement and skill. A further try was then scored giving a lead to King’s 21-5, putting the team well into cruise control.
From out of nowhere however, the team found ourselves in a very tight situation with Taupo scoring two quick tries (both converted) putting the game on a knife edge, 21-19. It was then game on!
Team Captain Piki Mihinui stepped up as hero of the game, busting through three defenders to score underneath the goal post, much to the relief of players, management and supporters. Trent Taiaroa scored his second try right on full-time, giving our team the victory with the final score 31-19.
The next game against St Peter’s College would decide of the winner of the pool with the winning team advancing to the Cup quarter-finals.
To begin, St Peter’s College kicked off, regathered the ball, moved it wide and scored. Agreeably not the best start after Head of Rugby Tasesa Lavea’s pre-match 'Braveheart' speech was given just moments before the game.
Fortunately, this initial try awoke the team and within the next minute Chicago Doyle was away down the side-line scoring our first try.
The wet conditions were tricky, and St Peter’s College made critical handling errors inside their 22, leading to Piki Mihinui scoring a comfortable try.
The game was then dominated by very good defence from both sides. King's had brave defenders against the bigger St Peter’s College team and Ethan Stuart, Dayton Iobu and Mitchell Irwin lead the way in perfect chop tackling. Unfortunately, St Peter’s scored a converted try against the run of play and we trailed 10-14 at the break.
King's started the second half well with plenty of possession, fatiguing St Peter’s College considerably. Trent Taiaroa scored an outstanding team try (converted) and the team found themselves back in front 17-14 with three minutes remaining.
After some very courageous tackling, St Peter’s College eventually broke our defence line scoring a converted try and leading 17-21 with one minute to go.
This time our hero came in the form of Piki Mihinui. Piki sped down the side-line beating two defenders and was just 50m away from scoring the match-winning try that would send King's into the quarter finals.
After a one-on-one play with the St Peter’s College covering sweeper, Piki was tackled down with only seconds remaining, ending the intense match and leaving our boys shattered.
“We are disappointed that we are now in the quarter finals of the Plate section and not the Cup section, but you can't fault the boys’ effort all afternoon, “says Head of Rugby Tasesa Lavea.
“The boys gave a 10/10 performance," agreed their coach Sherwin Stowers.
The team went on to comfortably win their quarter final against St Paul’s Collegiate School, the semi-final against the Cook Islands team and the final against Wesley College, showcasing an outstanding effort from the whole squad.
Individual honours go out to Chicago Doyle and Piki Mihinui for making the tournament team.