Kiri's try kills King's momentum
Only Fabien Kiri could score a try of the magnitude of the one which virtually won the game for the Palmerston North Boys' High School First XV on Saturday.
The try late in the game saw Kiri break three tackles before powering over for a try started by flanker James Kellow.
Boys' High won 27-26 to avenge last year's loss away to the exclusive Auckland King's College. It was Boys' High's sixth win against them in the past seven years, but they were lucky.
Most onlookers had a bad feeling about this one in the second half because in quick time King's, with a slick set of backs, had turned around a 20-7 deficit. They had all the momentum until Kiri's power surge up the sideline to score against the run of play.
Kiri, 16, was contracted to the Warriors by Dean Bell last year, but might play another season for the First XV.
His was one of three pieces of individual brilliance which won the game because collectively, this wasn't the Boys' High side which had won its previous four games with such panache.
Flanker Roydon Miller scored the first try after two minutes from a chargedown and livewire openside flanker Kellow got the second late in the first half.
The downside to that was Miller again dislocated a shoulder and is out for the season.
Captain and No 8 Hayden Spencer, fresh from the Hurricanes under-18s, caught King's napping when he took off from a scrum, broke a tackle and put Kellow across.
Spencer was the absolute standout on Saturday.
Coach Blair van Stipriaan knows the First XV must improve massively in the Super 8 game against Rotorua Boys' High School at Rotorua next Saturday.
"It was a good scalp to get," he said. "But we can't afford to play like that in coming weeks.
"I think a lot of them were still in holiday mode. They [King's] constructed two really good tries and played better rugby than us."
For once the backs were taken out of the game. King's pride themselves on their line speed, but Boys' High's backs lacked ball, spilled the bit they got and were opened up by the slick King's attackers who scored a softie right on halftime.
Boys' High had a dominant scrum, which was vital, but their kicking game of shallow box kicks backfired and they didn't kick for territory.
King's passed up penalties late in the game until deciding to take one three minutes from time. That left them too late to surge back again.
Scorers:PNBHS 27 (Roydon Miller, James Kellow, Fabien Kiri, tries; Taylor Transom 3 con, 2 pen) King's College 26 (Ash Tuia, Jonah Refiti, tries; Ciarahn Matoe 4 pen, 2 con) HT 20-14. Feilding High School's First XV almost got over through a rolling maul in the last play of the game, but Napier Boys' High School held on to win 25-21 at Feilding yesterday.
It was a close game in which either team could have won. Conceding a try under the sticks on the stroke of halftime didn't help either.
Both sides scored three tries and were rusty after the holiday break. In the end, none of Feilding's three tries were converted and that hurt.
"We looked a lot better than we have in the last couple of weeks," said coach Sam Moore.
"We were very good at stages, just not very clinical. When Napier ramped it up, they were very good."
It was beneficial for Feilding to play a non-competition match before meeting unbeaten St Paul's Collegiate (Hamilton) in next Saturday's Central North Island match at Feilding.
Feilding's set play and breakdown work were solid yesterday.
Their standout players were flankers Ollie Brosnahan and Kepueli Tu'ifua, prop Max Fryatt, Cameron Black, Gordon Coogan and Luther Hirini.
Scorers: Napier BHS 25 (3 tries, 2 con, 2 pen) Feilding HS 21 (Ollie Brosnahan 2, Hemi Bettridge, tries; Tom Stewart 2 pen) HT 13-all.