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St Kents make it three in a row

St Kentigern College have claimed the three-peat winning the Unitec 1st XV 1A championship on Saturday with a gripping 13-11 victory over Auckland Grammar at Eden Park.

In a match befitting to a great final, St Kents dominated the opening spell before Auckland Grammar bounced back in the second and looked likely to claim victory right up until the 70th minute.

The teams traded early penalties, William Raea of St Kents and Auckland Grammar’s Shaun Stevenson on target to create 3 all score line.
St Kents winger Suliasi Vunivalu proved dangerous down the left wing, and went within inches of the line in setting up the first try of the match.

The ball came loose and deemed out off an Auckland Grammar player, setting up an attacking line out for the defending champions.
St Kents brought the ball down from the line out into a rolling maul and as it neared the line, Captain Blake Gibson dived down for the try.
At 10-3 midway through the first spell St Kents would have been disappointed not to have extended their lead as they played with the majority of possession and territory.

It was a reinvigorated Auckland Grammar that took the field in the second half.

A St Kents error close to their own try line gifted Auckland Grammar an attacking scrum five metres out.

After a number of phases hitting he line, Grammar spread the ball wide and Keenan Masina breezed over the try line for the points.
Stevenson missed the conversion, his team trailing by just two points with almost 30 minutes to play.

Auckland Grammar unleashed a smart kicking game in the second half and looked to be throwing absolutely everything they had at St Kents. In contrast, the defending champions seemed to be making uncharacteristic errors.

Stevenson slotted a penalty with 15 minutes to go to put Auckland Grammar in front for the first time in the match.

A tense closing spell ensued as Auckland Grammar looked to hold on to their one point advantage and St Kents so desperately tried to steal it back.

While it looked as though the result was sealed, Auckland Grammar cleared the ball with just seconds on the clock only for St Kents to reply with a quick throw in.

With the last play of the game, Auckland Grammar were penalised and William Raea stepped up to take the kick that could win the match.
From 40 metres out, Raea’s kicked sailed over the posts to the absolute delight of his team mates and supporters and utter despair of the Auckland Grammar team.

St Kentigern 13 (B Gibson try, W Raea 2 pen, 1 con)Auckland Grammar 11 (K Masina try, S Stevenson 2 pen)