Reuben Mama recaps all the action from the opening weekend of the Auckland 1A 1st XV competition.
After a delayed start to the Auckland 1A 1st XV competition due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 12 respective teams were finally able to take to the field and get back to doing what they love on Saturday for the season's opening round.
Last year's top four finishers King's College, Saint Kentigern College, Sacred Heart College and Auckland Grammar School had little trouble making emphatic statements in their respective matches.
Defending champions King's squared off against traditional rivals St Peter's College away to begin their title defence. King's showed their champion qualities, holding St Peter's scoreless and recording a 22-0 victory.
King's College Head of Rugby Scott Palmer was pleased with how the new faces handled the pressure of a grudge match.
"It's never easy going to the Cage, we knew it wouldn't be. I think it was the type of game where we really just hung in there, we were patient, we didn't panic at times where the game could've got away from us or we could've let them back in, so it was a good result," Palmer said.
"The most pleasing thing from the game is keeping them to zero, especially at their fortress. I know the boys are really proud of that defensive effort. There were a couple of occasions when they were coming at us hard on our line and the boys got up and they put them back and forced a few errors. There were some crucial plays there, whether it as from the team collectively or individuals, they really stood up at key times which was great to see."
After a disrupted build up to the campaign, Palmer says all schools are overjoyed that rugby can return to the spotlight.
"It's awesome just to have it kicked off and to get going again and even talking to the players and other coaches from the other team, there was that excitement and relief to be out there. I think everyone's just grateful to be back out there. It really showed at the after match, the camaraderie between the two colleges and there's definitely that happiness."
Last year's runners up St Kentigern College hosted Tangaroa College and picked up a comfortable 36-5 win, while across the city Sacred Heart College travelled to meet Liston College, with the visitors notching up a resounding 58-0 triumph to open their account with the biggest win of the weekend. Auckland Grammar School entertained Dilworth School and also passed the half century with a 55-0 victory.
Palmer expects last year's top four to be battling for the title honours as the season progresses.
"There's going to be some crucial games coming up over the next few weeks. I think it will be as they say the usual suspects."
Mount Albert Grammar School were challenged against Aorere College, where they came out eventual 21-11 victors away.
The game of the round was between De La Salle College and Kelston Boys High School. The last time these two teams met it was De La Salle who earned bragging rights with a tight 19-17 win. The 2020 instalment would provide yet another classic arm wrestle, with Kelston hanging on away from home and securing a tense 15-12 victory.
Scores from around the country
Auckland 1st XV 1A
St Kentigern College 36 Tangaroa College 5
King's College 22 St Peter's College 0
Auckland Grammar 55 Dilworth School 0
De La Salle College 12 Kelston BHS 15
Liston College 0 Sacred Heart College 58
Aorere College 11 Mt Albert Grammar 21
North Harbour 1st XV 1A
Westlake BHS 38 Whangarei BHS 8
Kaipara College 0 Rosmini College 59
Orewa College 18 Rangitoto College 29
Manurewa HS 21 Takapuna Grammar 7
Mahurangi College 20 Massey HS 27
Nelson College 60 Roncalli-Aoraki Combined 0
St Andrew's 10 Marlborough Boys' College 3
Ashburton College 5 Waimea College 41
Lincoln 0 Shirley Boys High School 38
CBHS 17 Timaru Boys' High School 12
St Thomas CC 3 Christ's College 22
St Bedes College 13 Rangiora High School 7
Otago Premier School
Southland Boys 57 Mt Aspiring College 3
Otago BHS 16 Kings High School 28
Dunstan HS 22 John McGlashan College 21
Napier Boys 20 v Lindisfarne 19
St Patrick's Silverstream 36 v Rongotai 0
St Patrick's Town 29 v Scots College 10
Hastings Boys 22 v Fielding High 21
Palmerston North Boys 27 v Whanganui Collegiate 15
Pukekohe High School 19 v Tamaki College 15
Rotorua Boys High 15 v St John's Hamilton 0