Leituala king of King’s in schools final

The King’s High School first XV celebrates with the trophy after beating  John McGlashan College...
The King’s High School first XV celebrates with the trophy after beating John McGlashan College in the final of the Otago premier schools rugby competition at Hancock Park on Saturday. Photos: Peter McIntosh.
King's High School First XV second five-eighth Giovani Leituala had his own fan club on the sideline and they did not leave disappointed.

About a dozen members of his family donned light blue tee-shirts bearing his name  and cheered his every move.

The midfielder rose to the occasion, scoring all his side’s points and guiding his team to a 10-8 win against John McGlashan College First XV in the final of the Otago Premier Schools competition at Hancock Park on Saturday afternoon.

About 1500 people packed the sidelines and they were treated to a wonderfully tense game.

King’s High  No 8 Logan Taimale makes a run as John McGlashan  defenders (from left) Oliver...
King’s High No 8 Logan Taimale makes a run as John McGlashan defenders (from left) Oliver Geddes, Tom Dempster, Lochie Bain and Angus Simmers backtrack to stop him in the final.
Both teams bashed, crashed and smashed into each other, but ultimately the match was decided by the goal-kickers.

McGlashan opened the scoring when lock Charlie Davies dived over from a ruck close to the line in the 20th minute.

However, King’s had enjoyed the better of the half and  Leituala crossed the line following a series of rucks.

He kicked the conversion and the score remained 7-5 until midway through the second spell.

McGlashan first five-eighth Hunter Cleland drilled a penalty to give his team a 8-7 lead.

But McGlashan was caught offside about five minutes later and Leituala lined up what proved to be the game-winner from 23m out and 15m in from touch.

A roar greeted his strike as he sent it sailing straight down the middle.

Cleland had an opportunity to snatch back  the lead with about five minutes remaining. It was more or less from the same position but he duffed the attempt.

King’s went through the tournament unbeaten and  has earned a shot at the Otago Boys’ High School First XV this weekend. The winner of that game will play Southland Boys’ High School in the Highlanders final in two weeks’ time, so there is plenty still left to play for.

"It would be rude not to," King’s co-captain Tom Hume said when asked if the team would challenge Otago Boys’.

"It will be a step up from this again. The belief is there. They tipped us over earlier in the year but we’ve come along way since then."

McGlashan captain Reon Lowery said  with better execution, his side could have claimed the title for a third consecutive time.

"We had the heat on them down on the line a couple of times but came up with a few critical errors," he said.

"It was our mistakes that ended up giving them the win. But credit to the King’s boys."

Lowery must be one part tank and flanker Henry Bell must be the other half. The pair threw themselves at the defensive line and were the best of the McGlashan forwards.

For King’s, halfback Matt Horne provided some good service and flanker Dylan Tutty chalked up the tackles.But it is hard to go past Leituala. He made several line breaks, carried the ball strongly the whole game and then there was that kick.


Schoolboys final
The scores

King’s HS 1st XV                           10

Giovani Leituala try, con, pen

John McGlashan 1st XV                8

Charlie Davies try; Hunter Cleland pen

Halftime: 7-5.

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