It was a perfect day for rugby as The Kings School hosted Newington College for round 2 of the GPS Rugby competition proper, with Kings coming off a close loss to Shore and Newington banking the 2 points against Grammar in round 1.
Kings 27 def by Newington 36
An observer regarding a game featuring 10 tries would be forgiven for thinking that tackling may have been optional but nothing could be further from the truth as both teams put on a display of expansive and aggressive running rugby which was warmly appreciated by the gathered supporters of both teams.
The opening 10 minutes featured the “cut and thrust” expected as both teams felt each other out – tough and uncompromising stuff! Kings opened the scoring in the 12th minute with an unconverted try by 11. Wylie after a damaging run by 13. Foketi who dished off a great inside ball. 5 – 0 Kings.
Newington replied almost immediately with an unconverted try from 11. Milne after an aggressive restart from the visitors. In fact, Newingtons aggression at the restart became a feature of the game as it went on. Kings 10. Tulloch slotted a penalty goal in the 20th minute to take the score to 8 – 5 in the home teams favour, but once again Newington gained the advantage from the restart which, after several controlled and patient set phases through the forwards, culminated in 1. Pryor Lees crashing over for a try – also unconverted. Newington 10 – Kings 8.
Kings hit back hard from the kick off and after some sustained pressure in the opponents half 10. Tulloch scored a brilliant individual try featuring two of the best “fends” this correspondent has seen in a long time, including a “straight arm” on Milne that opened the path to the try line! Tulloch failed to convert his own try from out wide and the lead changed again : 13 – 10 to Kings.
Once again the kick off saw Newington gain the ascendancy through the athletic chase of Milne, and after a well worked lineout and a couple of phases up the middle the ball went wide to 14. Vlahos who scored, followed by a good conversion from 10. Lussick for Newington to go into half time leading 17 – 13. An absorbing half of rugby and a credit to both teams!
Newington commenced the second half on fire! A quick converted try from the kick off to 15. Hood took the score to 24 – 13 and it started to become apparent that the visitors pack were starting to dominate their opponents. Notwithstanding this, great “counter punching” from Kings resulted in a try to 12. Davies after turning over possession in the midfield. The try was converted : New 24 – Kings 20!
Again the restart featured Milne attacking the receiver and after several minutes of sustained pressure Newington’s 12. Abrahams crashed over only to be denied by a desperate last ditch tackle which held him up over the line! From the ensuing 5 metre scrum Newingtons 7. Morris managed to scramble over for a 7 pointer. Newington struck again from the kick off with patient and controlled forward play until 2. Vea scored their final try out wide for a score line of New 36 – Kings 20 in the 56th minute.
14 minutes to go and it was looking like Newington would run away with the game – but not so! Kings mounted almost constant assaults on the visitors and gave it everything – only desperate defence saved New from conceding points! In the 65th minute Wylie scored a well deserved try on the back of some good build up by Foketi and Kings were still threatening. In the end, resolute defence from Newington saw them see off the challenge and the game was blown up with the final score : Newington 36 – Kings 27 .
An absolute cracker of a game – well done to both teams! Some observations :
When Newington stuck to their disciplined, patient and controlled game featuring long phases of forward play to set up rapid raids from the backs they were almost irresistible. In the last 15 minutes, whether through fatigue or over confidence, they almost allowed Kings – who never stopped coming – back into the game by losing their structure. The backs were pretty evenly matched, with both teams showing some great skills.
Stand out players for Kings were Tulloch, Foketi ( try + 2 try assists ), Wylie ( double ) and Randell worked hard. For Newington – the usual suspects! Milne, Tepai ( who put a massive hit on the Kings 15. Tourish in the 47th minute which set the scene for 2 ensuing tries!) and Vlahos in the backs, and really you couldn’t single out any one of the 8 forwards – they were all good!
Other Scores :
2nds – Kings 18 – Newington 10
3rds – Kings 17 – Newington 17