It was a memorable afternoon for “School” at Goldstones on Saturday as DHS romped home to a resounding 31-48 victory over their oldest rivals, Maritzburg College. What made the victory even sweeter was that when DHS beat College on Goldstone in 1999, Scott Mathie, the current 1st XV Rugby Coach, played scrum-half for the winning team, and Alan Norton, current Deputy Head Master, was the 1st XV Coach!
DHS attacked right from the kick-off, which College fumbled, and took good value for their early lead through the boot of Scrumhalf, Sanele Nohamba, the Craven Week player in 2016. 3-0 after 6 minutes.
School backs threatened when Lwandile Menze broke but then College answered as their backs thrust down the right.
A penalty gave College a 5m line-out, and they took School by surprise by NOT mauling, as Hooker, Fezokuhle Mbatha, gave to Flank, Nthuthko Mchunu who burst through two defenders to score.
Bashers were flung into the air and blazers came off as College led 5-3 after 13 minutes. The lead did not last long. From a scrum near the half-way line, Fullback, Cham Zondeki’s, exquisite step and pass gave the necessary space for DHS Captain, Phendulani Buthelezi, to race in magnificent fashion for 42m to score – an outstanding try by an outstanding player. Nohamba converted and School led 10-5 after 15 minutes.
From the ensuing kick-off Lock, Marcel Nel, burst downfield and gave the ball to Menze who raced away for another long-range try for DHS. 17-5 after 17 minutes. The quick-fire burst had left the College faithful shell-shocked. However, in true College fashion, they summoned the necessary will to fight back into the game and a penalty, a free kick and another penalty in quick succession gave College three points and narrowed the lead to 17-8 after 21 minutes.
College then won a line-out on the far left just inside their own half and went wide right where Nkondlo Radebe had an overlap and swept over and round to the posts. 17-15 after 30 minutes. Another run by Nthuthko Mchunu down the right set College attacking again, they went left with Ross Williamson and Njabulo Mjara threatening but they then settled for a penalty goal and the half-time lead of 18-17.
What was billed as a “cracker” before the game was certainly living up to the hype. The 2nd half was expected to be another closely fought contest but proved to be something else entirely as DHS turned in 15 minutes of mayhem to take the game away from College.
School were first to attack in the second half; Wing, Luthando Buthelezi, was prominent and Flank, Phendulani Buthelezi, charged and was brought down on the line, but Nohamba was on hand to nip over for a try which he enjoyed and converted.
DHS had the lead at 24-18 after 41 minutes, and they did not relinquish it. A Weideman penalty for a high tackle brought College back to within 3 points with the score at 24-21 points, the closest they got in the second half as “School” stretched further ahead, doubling their score in the next 13 minutes.
First Nohamba kicked a penalty goal (27-21) and then just after the kick-off he kicked a punt into the vacant space behind the College defence where the ball bounced high and – perversely – backwards into the arms of Luthando Buthelezi who swerved on a rapid run to the posts to make it 34-21 in favour of School.
Scrumhalves are often cheeky but it was Nohamba’s cheeky diagonal kick from left to right that gave Luthando Buthelezi his second try, in the right corner. Nohamba then converted from touch; 41-21.
From a scrum far out Menze broke and sent Outside Centre, Asanda Kunene, forcing his way over for a try. 48-21 after 58 minutes.
College do not give up and scored two tries in the time left. Two penalties to DHS led to a tapped kick 5m from the School goal-line and big Jeandré Labuschagne scored. College attacked and bashed again until their Centre, Njabulo Mjara scored. 48-31 with six minutes to play.
Time was up when the ball came back to Nohamba near the right touchline. He darted into touch and straight to his coach to hug him.
It was a big victory for Durban High School and will be remembered for a long time yet. A fantastic showcase for schoolboy rugby!
Scorers for Durban High School:
Tries: Phendulani Buthelezi, Luthando Buthelezi 2, Lwandile Menze, Sanele Nohamba, Asanda Kunene
Conversions: Sanele Nohamba 6
Penalities: Sanele Nohamba 2
1st XV Rugby Coach/Head of Rugby
Photos of the game can be found on the following link, courtesy of Neville Bailey: