On a typical Auckland day, with the sun shining one moment and torrential rain the next, the Mt Albert Grammar School 1st XV set out to claim back the prestigious trophy won by Auckland Grammar last year.
With this game being the first televised 1st XV rugby game on SkyTV, MAGS were ready for the challenge and were willing to give their all.
A great sea of blue and yellow flooded the crowd. The support from their school saw MAGS kick off and dominate the territory right from the get go. With the wind behind them, MAGS settled in the AGS half. Opportunities presented themselves, with penalties awarded to MAGS, in which eventually Albert Nikoro was able to convert one of the three, opening the scoreboard. MAGS 3-0 AGS
MAGS then found the form seen in their last game and, with great momentum, the forwards drove towards the line and created a real problem for AGS. A great performance of strength from Scott Malolua and MAGS were rewarded for their efforts at the breakdown, exploding off a quick tap and crossing the line to set AGS back another 5 points. The try was unconverted. MAGS 8-0 AGS
With MAGS continuing to dominate territory AGS were forced to stay on the defensive and try to hold their line. However, a scrum 22m out from the AGS line saw MAGS execute a brilliant play with Jarrod McAlister-Poi. Jarrod showed great speed and agility, scoring on the right hand side of the field. MAGS leading into half time with another 5 points, which was then converted to 7 by Matt McGahan.
Half time score: MAGS 15 - 0 AGS
At the break the vibe was very positive with the best was
yet to come.
MAGS, now running into the wind, did not have any problems getting into the opposition half. With excellent direction from Matt McGahan, MAGS found themselves within 10m of the AGS goal line. Quick thinking from Scott Malolua saw Albert Nikoro running onto the ball at speed and breaking the AGS line to score the third try to MAGS. He then converted his own try, extending the score MAGS 22-0 AGS.
MAGS then decided to slow things down and build pressure deep into the AGS half. Consistent strong runs from MAGS allowed Alex Hodgeman to finish off a great phase of plays, beating two opponents and scoring on the right hand side of the field. Matt McGahan converted the try. Score MAGS 29 - 0 AGS
Now trailing by 29 points AGS were not going to give up. Despite outstanding defence from some of the MAGS mid-field, Ngana Lu'au and Louis Devery, individual efforts from the AGS no.8 and no.14 brought the score line closer when they scored unconverted tries. MAGS 29 - 10 AGS
This was not to be the end. With an excellent game so far, Matt McGahan ran through the field beating many players in his stride, only to be slowed down by a high tackle. The penalty was awarded and MAGS put together a blindside play which involved Matt McGahan running through the AGS defence scoring a magnificent try to close the scoreboard.
Final Score: MAGS 34 - 10 AGS
With a week full of distractions the boys were able to keep their composure and show everyone that the 2009 final was not a mistake. They showed a lot of character throughout the match. Great leadership by Michael Fatialofa and Matt McGahan was seen and a very outstanding performance by the team was witnessed.
MAGS were able to keep their composure in front of national television which hints of a promising season ahead. They must now not rest on their past performances as they head into their first home game. We would like to thank all the supporters for the excellent turn out to the game and look forward to seeing them at MAGS next week.
Match Report written by Albert Nikoro
Photos supplied by Kate Meads
SkyTV Asics Player of the Day: Albert Nikoro
MAGS Dominate Player of the Day: Scott Malolua
Next game: MAGS vs. St Peter's at MAGS next Saturday 8th of May
Thanks to this year's 1st XV Sponsors: Samurai Sportswear,
Waiwera Hot Pools, Ritchies Bus Company, Active Physio, Anne
Duncan Real Estate, York St Boxing, J.R. Communications, Jett
Consulting Ltd, Micky B's Fitness