The final game of the DHS 1st XV season took place under lights in a highly combative fixture against one of the top rugby schools in the UK, namely Woodhouse Grove School. It was a game that was defined by the amount of gruesome collisions and proved an excellent fixture for both sides. It also was a grand reminder of the importance of rugby in society and how it builds relationships across the globe for an entire lifetime.
After the unexpected defeat against Parktown it was important that “School” rally hard and produce the effort and physicality that has become associated with their game of late. The reaction was good and although the “Horseflies” struggled to exit well on the day (as regular flyhalf Shakur La Douce was unavailable due to injury), their defence was resolute. The poor exits meant DHS had to defend a large portion of the first half in their own 22m. The structured hard running game of our UK counterparts was very abrasive, but the smaller and combative DHS boys defended with pride, thwarting all their efforts on the night. It was great to see that desperation back in our defence, and it laid the platform for us to win the game.
The team struggled to win any lineout ball in the first half, which denied us a lot of possession. Woodhouse were able to add two converted penalties to their score-line, leaving the score at 6-0 at the break. Although lacking possession, School were able to show more X-factor moments on the night and always had the ability to break the game open. This proved difficult, however, given the quality of the opposition defence.
The 2nd half brought slightly more composure, as School were able to sort out their lineouts and started to see more ball. DHS eventually took the lead when Captain, Celimpilo Gumede, hammered the line in the 22m to offload sublimely to Centre, Macneil Jenner, to dash over for our first score. The try was converted by Sfundo Mkhwanazi.
With a 7-6 lead heading into the last 10 minutes, DHS were fighting to preserve their unbeaten season at home. This was put in peril when the opposition were able to execute a well-timed drop goal to take the scores to 7-9 in favour of the touring team. But like most of this season, “Cometh the man, cometh the hour”, Captain Gumede broke from a scrum from his own 22m to gallop the whole length of the field, chip the full back and gather with only 5 minutes remaining on the clock. DHS thought they were going to take the lead only to see the Captain knock the ball on over the line! However, this attack took DHS into their opposition 22m and from a subsequent penalty, a quick thinking tap and go from Flanker, Asande Mnguni, freed up enough space to force an offload to Gumede who crashed over to score with very little time left.
It was a hard fought victory that encapsulated the hard work the team put in on the night and ensured that the 1st XV went unbeaten on Van Heerden’s this season, a feat that had not been achieved in a very long time. Many thanks go to the coaching team and players for all their efforts this year. We must also thank all the Old Boys whose unwavering support of the rugby programme has been a major influence in our success this year. With your continued support we look forward to many more fruitful seasons on the famous Van Heerden’s.
1st XV Rugby Coach
Head of Rugby