The DHS 1st XV Rugby team attended the St Stithians Easter Festival in Johannesburg over the Easter holidays, where they acquitted themselves with great promise.  Read about their games:
Durban High School vs Bishops Diocesan College
The DHS 1st XV produced one of the finest first half displays of rugby against their favoured counterparts from Cape Town, Bishops, at the St Stithians Easter festival in Johannesburg. Attacking the line and running from deep, they interlinked wonderfully to produce three scintillating tries from their backline to take an unprecedented 17-0 lead at half time.
However, what was arguably their best 1st half performance was followed by their worst 2nd half display. DHS conceded early and once Bishops had their tails up it became very difficult to stem the tide. DHS could not retain possession in the 2nd half and Bishops began to set up phase after phase, ultimately tiring out our defence. Line breaks from their outside backs led to further tries from the Cape Town team. Although DHS got one back in the 2nd period through Cham Zondeki, it ended in heartbreak for the Horseflies as a last second penalty was converted to give Bishops a 27-24 win on the day.
Although a bitter loss, much hope can be found in that first half display, where interlinking between scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba and flyhalf Gert Coetzee opened up numerous holes in the defence. Full back Cham Zondeki scored two stunning tries and pacy flanker Phendulani Buthelezi another.
A devastating loss, but much to be proud of.
Durban High School vs St Stithians College
It was first and foremost a great advert for schoolboy rugby as DHS ran out to play the hosts St Stithians in the main game at the St Stithians Festival, which, even for the neutral, proved to be an absolute nail biter!
Fuelled by the 18 000 strong crowd, the St Stithians boys showed determination and guts and put the Horseflies under pressure from the start. DHS struggled to maintain control of the ball and could not find their groove throughout the 1st half. The Saints pack started to assume control and found small gains up front. Saints scored tries through maintained pressure in the DHS 22m, much to the delight of the home crowd. DHS managed a single try in the 1st half but could not assert any authority on the impassioned performance from Saints who, even after the break, ran into an unassailable 16-5 lead.
However, with 4 minutes on the clock the entire game seemed to turn on its head as DHS started to play with a desperation seldom seen in the game. This possession led to a try that was built through more than ten phases, with prop Sean Barnes eventually crashing over to make the scores 16-12 with 30 seconds remaining.
DHS were buoyed by the score and were motivated to not succumb to another close loss. From the ensuing kick-off fielded deep inside their half, DHS began to go through the phases, intent on securing a last gasp victory. School moved the ball across the field using their pace to exploit the tiring Saints defenders and after a long passage of play the ball was released to 8th man, Matthew Hamilton, who burst through a gap inside the Saints 22m and offloaded delicately to hooker, Luthando Jojo, who crashed over for a last second try.
DHS celebrated a stunning victory, it was a big occasion for the Durban based side as they began to realise the quality of talent in their depths. The victory gave them a renewed belief that they can win from any situation. It certainly felt like a massive hurdle had been mounted and the team looks inspired to go on and achieve greater things this year.
Durban High School vs St Andrew’s College
The DHS 1st XV were looking to build on their last-second win against St Stithians when they took on St Andrew’s College from Grahamstown in the early game on Easter Monday.
It was billed to be a tight affair but turned out to be the most complete performance from the Durban based team. A phenomenal 3 tries in the 1st half took DHS to an unassailable lead at the break. DHS were intent on running the ball, scoring tries even from their own goaline. Cham Zondeki opened the scoring when he played a perfectly timed inside pass to wing, Luthando Buthelezi, who offloaded in the tackle back to Zondeki who was put in an one-on-one with the St Andrew’s fullback. There was only ever going to be one winner in that situation as Zondeki flat-footed his opponent and ran in under the posts.
A great break from blindside flanker, Phendulani Buthelezi, led to the second try as SA Water Polo player and 8th man, Matthew Hamilton, picked up from the ruck and skirted down the blindside to score a sneakily worked try.
However, the try of the half came from a turnover on the DHS tryline when the ball was shifted to flyhalf, Sanele Nohamba, who stepped two opponents before running down the field to give to an in-space Phendulani Buthelezi, who stepped the fullback and scored the try of the game.
Although St Andrew,s mounted sporadic comebacks, the DHS attack just looked too overwhelming on the day for the Grahamstown based private school.
It rounded off an excellent festival for the Horseflies who recorded two fine victories and a narrow defeat which could have been easily avoided. The young team appeared to come of age at the festival which bodes well for the rest of the season.
Scott Mathie
1st XV Coach/Head of Rugby