1st XV Rugby : DHS vs Northwood : Match Report
There was an 11-try fest in Durban North where Durban High School (DHS) beat hosts Northwood 50-27 in 70 minutes of non-stop action on Saturday.
DHS’s counter attack and turnover play was of a very high standard during this match. School opened the scoring in the 5th minute after a flat-angled kick by the Northwood pivot landed in the breadbasket of a DHS player and that turnover soon resulted in Captain/No.8, Celimpilo Gumede, stepping inside a marker and taking off on a carry of over 50m all the way to try-line. It was impressive display of speed by the tall SA Schools player. Flyhalf, Shakur la Douce, added two to make 7-0.
With the wind behind them Northwood were in-it-to-win-it during the first half and many believed it was their year to topple “School”, and a try from their inside centre generated a new found belief in the boys from Durban North.
However, this belief was soon eroded as four minutes later DHS re-established their lead. A penalty allowed the boys from the Berea to set up a lineout near the Northwood try-line. Go-to man, Celimpilo Gumede, took it cleanly and from there School controlled possession, until intelligent scrummy, Jaydian Cedares, worked the blindside and drew a defender before pushing a pass to flank, Adrian Dirks, who had positioned himself next to the touchline and dived over in the left corner to make it 12-10.
In the 30th minute the DHS lead was extended to 19-10 thanks to more splendid counterattacking. It was heart-breaking for Northwood because the play started so well for them. However, in an attempt to go wide from first phase ball, possession lost on the right wing. Swift to respond, one of the ever-alert DHS players cleverly made good use of the ball by producing a long pass to the other side of the field where players were already queuing up with New Zealand rugby-like urgency and understanding of what had to be done to maximise on the situation. From there, right wing, Malusi Ntuli, did the main damage with a sprint up the outside before feeding to support player Dirks who cantered in, with la Douce adding the extras.
DHS wing, Ntuli, added another vital contribution by winning the ball back at the very next kickoff. Flyhalf, la Douce, then expertly nudged the ball into a space on his right in the 22m and the decent chase forced a Northwood sweeper into touch inside the redzone. A successful lineout and rolling maul ensued and when the Northwood resistance crumbled, it opened a path for Horsefly’s hooker, Mpendulo Sibiya, to cross the white chalk and grow his team’s lead to 24-13.
The action-packed sequence just before the halftime break characterised this game. DHS fullback, Darren Booysen, had hacked ahead and things were looking promising for DHS at first. Northwood then managed to re-gather the ball and attacked DHS line with fervour. DHS produced a resilient defence of their line to close out the half with the score-line intact.
It was always going to be a difficult task for the home team playing against the wind in the 2nd half, and the “Horseflies” made this count to good effect. Six minutes into the second half, DHS were again able to rely on their lineout set-piece, backed up by disciplined and organised pressure, via several different ball-runners. This gradually broke down the Northwood defence until the home team ran out of credible defenders and Captain Gumede powered over near the upright. La Douce tapped over the conversion to increase the lead to 31-13.
A poor exit by Northwood but also an excellent catch on the run by flyhalf, la Douce, set the next DHS try in motion, 15 minutes into the half. DHS moved the ball through hands and flank, Dirks, who was once again stationed on the wing, had the first crack at the line after a carry up the left. A few teammates also went for it and were repelled before a good flat pass by scrumhalf, Cedares, to his tighthead, Mthokozisi Gumede, did the trick and DHS went two scores ahead again at 36-20.
In the 21st minute a Northwood overthrow to their lineout gave DHS replacement hooker, Stoney Steenkamp, an opportunity to set off on a long breakaway run. He and Captain Gumede then came up with the classic 1-2 passing exchange to allow the burly utility forward to finish what he had started. With two extra points by the number-10 it was 43-20.
A minute later DHS completed their eight-try rout. After the kickoff, playing with so much confidence, they again freed up the ball and looked to direct it to the player in space, who this time happened to be outside centre, Macneil Jenner. He burst free along the left touchline and found pacy little halfback, Cedares, in support, who rounded off. La Douce landed his fifth conversion to make it 50-20.
It was hard to single out DHS’s outstanding players because they had all combined so well and so unselfishly as a team to keep the scoreboard ticking over. The team also has to be commended for the work they did on the ground where their eagerness to pilfer never seemed to wane. The score in the end almost flattered the hosts as it could have been an even bigger scoreline had La Douce converted the 17 extra points.
So far this season DHS have exceeded expectations. One has to praise their enthusiastic players who have been rising to the occasions. Their coaching staff also deserve to be complimented for the attractive and smart brand of rugby that is being applied.
1st XV Rugby Coach/Director of Rugby