New Plymouth Boys High School have fallen short of Auckland’s Kings College by 26-13 in a pre-season 1st XV game at the Gully on Saturday.
The score line didn’t reflect how hard New Plymouth played as they had the majority of the ball especially in the second half against a large pack in comparison.
In front of a packed Gully, New Plymouth started in the best possible fashion with an excellent try by Indiha Saotui-Hatu. But it wasn’t the try scorer that did all the work, hooker Bradley Slater made a 30 metre burst down the blindside drawing the Kings fullback as he offloaded to Saotui-Huta to score.
Kings then replied with an excellent kick chase game where their first try was awarded albeit from a New Plymouth error. Fullback Luke Brown was put in the sin-bin for 10 minutes after referee Will Johnston deemed he deliberately knocked the ball dead while he was in the in-goal denying a probable try to a chasing Kings player.
However, New Plymouth weren’t troubled by being a man down as first five-eighth Brayton Northcott-Hill slotted a penalty kick to keep the scores close in Brown’s absence.
With plenty of pace out wide, Kings scored three tries stretching the score out to 26-8. The visitors managed to take full advantage of clean ball at the breakdown and used their number 8 and wingers to full effect.
New Plymouth scored an excellent try thanks to Jamahl Hapi who showed plenty of speed on the wing to beat three defenders in the process to score.
In the second spell, New Plymouth were close to dotting down again as they had plenty of control, but the Kings’ defence was organised and structured that denied the home side any opportunity.
Stand out players for New Plymouth were captain Tom Florence and utility back Michael McDonald who had plenty of runs and made some excellent tackles in defence. Their scrum also performed well against a good pack and were disciplined across the park.
Their next match is against Aorere College in Auckland this coming weekend before heading to a tournament Christchurch over the holidays. New Plymouth’s next home game is against Auckland Grammer.
Meanwhile Kings will focus on the Auckland A1 schools competition which begins in a few weeks.
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