Mount Albert Grammar School has again made a mark against New Zealand rugby league powerhouse St Paul’s College in Auckland’s College Rugby League Premier First XIII Competition.
In the final round of pool games Mount Albert Grammar travelled to Richmond Road to meet St Paul’s on its home turf and came away with a stunning 18-12 upset win over the 2013 champion.
This report was filed on the Auckland Rugby League’s website www.aucklandleague.co.nz wrapping up the match of the day and the rest of the round:
It was touted as one of the best match-ups of the SAS College Rugby League pool stages, and it didn’t disappoint.
After 50 minutes of tough, skilful rugby league Mt Albert Grammar pulled off an upset 18-12 victory over 2013 champion St Paul’s, winning Pool B1 in the process.
With both team’s possessing well-structured defensive lines, the game went 21 minutes before a point was scored.
On a cold afternoon at St Paul’s College, it was the home side which was first to crack.
Front rower Connor Purcell had been a standout through the opening exchanges and had the crucial carry which led to the first try, athletically finished by Te Reimana Parangi.
A sideline conversion from Bostyn Hakaraia meant MAGS led 6-0.
Quality teams know how to reply though, and St Paul’s hit back only minutes later through fullback Cody Mahukia. Mahukia converted as well to tie it up at 6-6 going into the break.
Five minutes into the second period and Purcell was at it again, this time crossing between the posts after a St Paul’s error on a kick return.
Trailing 6-12, St Paul’s wasn’t helping itself, producing a spate of errors and missing touch on a penalty to gift Mt Albert more possession.
The pressure eventually told, Mataio Timaloa finishing of some spectacular second-phase play to extend the lead out to 18-6.
The scene was set for a dramatic finish when St Paul’s scored with three minutes to go.
Sam Filimoeatu latching on to a towering bomb and Finau Payne converting to reduce the deficit to six.
But a last-minute defensive stand from MAGS denied St Paul’s the try needed to level things up, and the upset victory was in the bag.
Both sides qualify through to the top division, where they may meet later in the quest for overall CRL honours.
Elsewhere Mt Roskill Grammar School received its first points of the year, overcoming Lynfield College, which finished bottom of its pool without a win.
Manurewa High School continues to be the big improver on the college scene, claiming a third win to claim Pool C outright. A hat-trick from second-rower David Tusiane did most of the damage in a 24-20 result against Southern Cross Campus.
Otahuhu College weas made to work for the full 50 minutes in its victory over Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, eventually taking it out in front of an always-vocal Otahuhu College crowd.
Kelston Boys’ High School further enhanced its claims as the team to beat in 2014. Last year’s National Secondary School champion and CRL runner-up was completely dominant in a 28-10 win over Henderson.
Talented halfback Zion Ioka was once again the star of the show, booting four goals and directing traffic well.
Despite leading by only 12 points at half time, Massey High School produced a huge second-stanza effort to crush Auckland Seventh-day Adventist School 52-0, with a hat-trick to fullback Dean Kouka-Smith the highlight.
After an evenly contested first period, Papakura High School took advantage of some second half errors from James Cook High School, notching up a 24-2 victory to go third in its pool.
Players to note were Papakura’s centres Brodie Boyce and Robert Pritchard who both caused trouble out wide.
Aorere College claimed a win over second-placed Tangaroa College, to ensure a third victory for 2014.
Aorere has scored 62 points and conceded just 24 to start the year.
The top two teams from each pool now split into the cup, plate and bowl divisions, depending on their position at the end of pool play.
Western Springs 24 Westlake 12. HT: 18-0 Kelston 28 Henderson 10. HT: 10-6 Auckland Seventh-day Adventist 0 Massey 52. HT: 0-12 Lynfield 8 Mt Roskill 20. HT: 4-20 St Paul’s 12 Mt Albert 18. HT: 6-6 Tangaroa 12 Aorere 32. HT: 6-24 Papatoetoe 24 Pakuranga 12. HT: 4-6 Sir Edmund Hillary 18 Otahuhu 26. HT: 14-16 Manurewa 24 Southern Cross 20. HT: 4-10 James Cook 2 Papakura 24. HT: 0-6.