Saturday 27 May marked a memorable occasion for the Durban High School as they produced a magical 2nd half performance which earned them the bragging rights in Durban this year. School overcame a first half deficit of 12-3 to eventually run out 17-20 victors over their noisy neighbours, Glenwood.
The victory was made all the sweeter as it was in 2006 when DHS last beat their local rivals. This was too long a wait for the blue half of Durban. But the wait proved to be worthwhile, as DHS staged an amazing comeback on Glenwood's Old Boys Day to assert themselves as one of the top teams in the country.
Although DHS were in the led 3-0 early on from a penalty from Scrumhalf, Sanele Nohamba, it was Glenwood who were more threatening, stampeding over for two well-made tries for giant lock, JJ van der Mescht and Craven Week wing, Morne van Rensburg taking the lead to 12-3. DHS were outweighed in the pack by 100kg, but it did little to stop their energy and aggression in defence and at the breakdown.
However, it was only after half-time that DHS assumed control as they started to play the free flowing rugby one has become accustomed to from the “Horseflies” of late. Running from all positions on the field, DHS’s slick hands and pace out wide started to expose flaws in the Glenwood defence system. Some outstanding interplay from the DHS backs allowed Nohamba to play an excellent flat pass across 3 defenders to allow Captain, Phendulani Buthelezi, to crash over from close range to bring “School” back within range. They continued the onslaught, and again Nohamba found Hooker, Luthando Jojo, close to the line who slipped a short pass to Captain Buthelezi to spin and crash over for another try. This took DHS into the lead at 17-12.
It was the General, Sanele Nohamba, who ran the show on the day, pulling all the strings and making a statement as to why he must be the favourite to occupy the SA Schools’ Scrumhalf position this year. Regularly dropping into the Flyhalf position throughout the game, his decision to drop into the pocket to strike a perfectly timed drop goal, was a decision that took DHS into an 8 point lead at 12-20 with 10 minutes left to play.
DHS should have had another try 5 minutes from time as Wing, Luthando Buthelezi, broke from his own 10m line before offloading to his fellow Back, Lwazi Moletshe, the ball drifting agonisingly behind the Flyhalf, only for Flank, Kamvelihle Fatyela, to pick up and race towards the try line. However, the pass was adjudged to have been forward.
With very little time remaining, Glenwood scored from a well-timed set piece move, as Glenwood Fullback, Siyanda Cele, raced clear of the DHS backline before passing to Scrumhalf, Jayden Hendrikse, who offloaded back to Cele to bring Glenwood within 3 points of DHS.
Remarkably, with time up on the clock, the referee adjudged for the kick off to be taken, this meant another agonising end to a superb rugby match. Four minutes later, after Glenwood produced wave after wave of attack, DHS’s incessant tackling and the resolute defence held firm and they turned over the Glenwood ball in their own 22m area. Sanele Nohamba was left with the simple task of punting the ball out to mark a massive victory for the “Horseflies”.
It was a great game, showcasing the very best of SA schoolboy talent, played with guts and the highest skill. In the end, it was the Blue and Gold of DHS that shone through, being rewarded for their attacking intent and indomitable spirit on the day.
1st XV Rugby Coach/Head of Rugby