KZN : 2 big clashes to start the local interschools season

DHS versus Hilton and Michaelhouse versus Westville will take centre stage in KwaZulu-Natal schoolboy rugby this coming weekend.

DHS – Hilton
A few years ago, this might have been graded as just another of the annual derbies in the province but in 2017 it’s a potential a KZN match of the season in the making. This is because both teams are showing form at the moment and on paper it looks like they have the personal and capability to carry that form all the way to the finish line in June. That kind of consistency would result in the highest in-province finishes for both schools in quite some time.

It is by no means an attempt to overrate either side’s chances of success. There is a reality brought on by the congested season ahead – depth charts are likely to be a tested factor. Based on how the 2016 season ended, there probably aren’t two KZN head coaches more aware of how a poor finish to a campaign can ruin the overall impression,spinning what might otherwise have been remembered as good season, into an under-performing forgettable one.

There are already so many good things to write about DHS’s early season form. Their outstanding conditioning, their individual playing skills, their reliance on their wealth of experience gained through 1st XV caps and their fast-paced style of play make for very attractive to watch schoolboy rugby. Even without the centre pairing of Trent Askew and the South Pacific-like midfield Onke Jiba, DHS backs still produced high tempo accurate running onto passes rugby to comprehensively beat Northwood 82-0 this past Saturday. And it’s not just ‘School’s’ backs that are busy paving themselves in glory, they have some highly rated forwards as well.

Backline players operating at high speed are a nightmare for any school defence to cope with. It therefore has to be top of Hilton’s priority list, to make those outside gaps as small as possible, perhaps by employing the blitz defence. The good news for Hilton supporters is that their team was very solid and structured defensively during the practice match against Glenwood. Not only that Hilton also earned nods of approval with ball-in-hand, so some very positive aspects about their attack. Hilton does not have the flashiness that DHS, so the former will depend a lot more on overall cohesion, recycled ruck ball and playbook designs off set and broken plays to manufacture holes and influence the scoring. One disadvantage that Hilton will run onto Van Heerden’s with this Saturday is preseason build-up. They made the most the opportunity against what’s expected to be a Glenwood squad in a chukka controlled match, but it’s one practice game versus the three match conditions ones that DHS has under their belt and it could be a telling factor.

There are some mouth-watering matchups ahead. These are two of them:

Its arguable the battle of the two best grade-12 scrumhalves in KZN: Sanele Nohamba (DHS) is the KZN Craven Week player who has a couple of SA under-18 distinctions behind his name as well, goes up against the creative Graham Curtis who was already playing with the senior’s confidence and authority about his game in 2016.

At lock the promising youngster Celimpilo Gumede (DHS) is very mobile backrow type player who will be up against a very different type of forward in big George Putter (Hilton) who is really beginning to look the part of a proper hard-grafting tight forward and go-to ball-carrier – definitely someone that both SARU and union scouts should be paying attention to in a year in which taller talented locks appear to be in short supply.

Michaelhouse – Westville
House’s match conditions pre-season for the big opener consisted of a practice match against a relatively unthreatening Clifton team. Although it was a good workout, whether it was enough preparation to take on a big school team like Westville remains a question-mark. Although Michaelhouse are the hosts and their Meadows home-ground counts for a handful of points against opponents like Westville, they might be able to claim underdog status. Westville was a head turning team a couple of weeks ago when they fought back to despatch DHS in a preseason shortened game, without really hitting their straps. However for some inexplicable reason they did not really push on from there and a week later the 17-7 result against Voortrekker with more summer sportsmen at their disposal didn’t give away any clues of their true potential. Ville however remain a dark-horse team ticking many boxes due to their good balance and they have lots to prove after a disastrous 2016 season but they will need to get their act together to get off to a regular season winning start.

Kearsney takes on Northwood on Saturday in a match they are clear favourites to win.

Apart from coaching motivation issues stemming from an imminent change, Northwood don’t have much by way of size, depth or high quality players this season, meaning they are bound to be in for a really rough ride. Just like the 0-82 result against DHS, other rivals are bound to record huge victories. This Saturday is unlikely to prove an exception. There shouldn’t be a shortage of heart in the Knights team though and their goal for the season should be to win the matches they are reasonably expected to win every year.

Kearsney 29 Welkom Gim 15
Kearsney recorded a useful win against a Welkom Gim team that at times were their worst enemies and are bound to improve.
The cons for Kearsney were the setpieces. Hooker Dan Cherry has a strong enough open play game to allow push for provincial colours this season but he and his jumpers simply have to up their lineout percentage significantly to help Kearsney gain needed platforms against stronger teams. Uncompromisingly tough Matt Heard has been tasked with not the most unusual but arguably the most difficult forward position switch in make in school rugby – going from the backrow to tighthead prop. It’s a clear indication that Kearsney has a depth issue in this department.

One of the pros of the One-Stripes victory was that highly rated talisman no.8 and captain Dylan Richardson did not disappoint after a quiet first half by his standards. The explosive player produced a few carries into heavy traffic and his extraordinary strength on his feet kept him moving forward in spite of the attentions of numerous well-sized opponents. The plays reminded one of a time when Natal legend Wahl Bartmann pulled off the same amazing strength feats.

There was a surprise package performance by young flyhalf Jacques Odendaal. He looks like a good prospect. It’s not every year that Kearsney has a threatening pacey back three like the 2017 trio who combined well on several counter-attacks.

Maritzburg College prepares for their titanic battle regular season opener against Grey College on 25 March by playing a chukka game against Pietermaritzburg neighbours St Charles this Saturday.

Glenwood and Clifton  will both next be in school rugby action again against other opponents at the DHS Rugby Day on 22 March.


  1. After the DHS – Northwood result I reckon kearsney will be looking to hit 100! Wake me up when this year is over. SO sad after 2014 and the signs of change. The DHS – Hilton match will be a humdinger! Go DHS

  2. @McCulleys Workshop: I have got visions of Skywalker as a Zombie in the Night of the Living Dead. :lol: I think GW’s all time record against NW is a 41 point margin. For DHS to double it is just crazy stuff.

  3. @Speartackle: Also think that one is the pick of the day. Looking forward to your no-BS report on the match :lol: . Despite all the good efforts by the rich and famous I call it DHS by 20. (I think it will take time to build a machine with a lot of torque, diesels are not that fast from the pull away – watch them in years to come).

  4. Northwood Results VS DHS:

    Very clear what DHS strategy was/is – spent all the money on this ‘dreamteam’ 1st team and now clearly bought in a new u16A team,(Northwood u15A beat them last year like 40:0…and now suddenly lose 17-15). but nothing left over for junior recruitment.

    Northwood tried this a few years back but I fear DHS will soon start to see the effects of having no pipeline – as Northwood are seeing this year! Unfortunately you need to spend in both areas to keep pace and compete with the big boys.

    1ST XV Lost 8 – 82
    2nd XV Lost 7 – 17
    3rd XV Lost 7 – 45
    4th XV Lost 17 – 19
    U16A Lost 15 – 17
    U16B Lost 5 – 7
    U16C Won 55 – 0
    U15A Won 31 – 0
    U15B Won 34 – 5
    U15C Lost 10 – 12
    U14A Won 31 – 8
    U14B Won 48 – 0
    U14C Won 50 – 0
    U14D Won 44 – 0

  5. Judging by the team sheet for the u16A game there are two new players to that team for DHS. The rest were all there in grade 8.

  6. @Anonymous: Hello Anonymous. What is the St David’s 1st team looking like this year? I’ll pop down to watch the St David’s v St Alban’s u14A (a mate’s son is playing) and 1st team games on Sat.

  7. @Anonymous: Wow i am amazed by that. Looking back i see Northwood u15A actually beat them twice last year 21:0 and 44:0. DHS did not score a single point in 2 games and Northwood scored over 60. A year later, the same boys now in u16A get beaten 17-15. Seems almost impossible to turn a 60 point deficit around with only 2 new players.

  8. @Skywalker: You’ll probably find that your star u15 players migrated with the busses that pick up kids from DBN North and drop them off in Umbilo and Westville.

  9. @Vleis: we are hoping for a vastly improved season on last year. So come see how it goes… Should be a good game.

  10. @Skywalker: the real question is as McCulleys says is howany of your players are still there from gr8? The u14 team that came in there were even a few guys who had never played rugby before so they’ve learned a lot clearly.

  11. @Anonymous: I am not close enough to know for sure, but it certainly seems like the majority of team are still the same and all together. Anyway all the junior teams will have a tough assignment tomorrow vs Kearsney. Hope a few scores stay respectable – cause the 1st team game will be one way traffic!

  12. Here is the MHS team for Saturday:
    1.Liam Friend
    2.Mpho Mthethwa
    3.Keynon Knox
    4.Luke Jonsson
    5.Oliver Calvert-Evers
    6.Christian Opperman
    7.Nicholas Kershaw
    8.Fraser Jones
    9.Tom Price
    10.William Glassock
    11.Michael Gomes
    12.Wesley Turkington
    13.Dane Fisher
    14.Kuhle Khumalo
    15.Liam England

  13. @Far Meadows:Rocky Knox, Oliver C-E AND Dane Fisher are definitely 3 players I would like to see more of. Great to have Turky back. He is going to add a lot of value to the midfield.

  14. @Far Meadows: @Bush: A couple of my mate’s sons are in the team, so House will have my virtual support on Sat…for what it’s worth! :lol:

    @beet: How many years in a row has House had a 1st team lock with a double-barrelled surname? It must be at least four?

  15. @beet: It helped College that day. If it’s going bad for House I know where that switch for the lightening alarm is ⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️?????⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️????????

  16. Westville team for tomorrow:
    1. Jesse Golding
    2. Gustav du Rand
    3. Dean Schrader
    4. Sheldon Veldsman
    5. Deon Slabbert
    6. Etienne Roos
    7. Dillon Taljaard
    8. JP Pelzer
    9. Dylan Coombe
    10. Reece Nyland
    11. Tristan de Kock
    12. Brogan Boulle
    13. Jaco van den Berg
    14. Jono Reineke
    15. Jaryd Lombard

  17. @beet: Solid looking pack. Pity Schwartz no longer part of the mix. He looked like he was going to develop into a big roll player in this team

  18. @Far Meadows: Is the no 4 Nick’s boy? If so always good to have sons of OBs in the mix.
    @ Beet- Solid looking pack for sure. It had better be with only one English sounding surname listed :lol: .Where is the scrumhalf from last year and why is Schwartz no longer part of the mix?

  19. @star: 9. Phipson in 2nd XV which is a bit of a surprise to me. Schwartz apparently injured but focusing of soccer instead of rugby.

    Michaelhouse lock is of the member of the overall manufacturing family (I think)

  20. @star: Yes , Luke is Nick’s son.

    Jones and Turkington are also old boy’s sons.

    The scrumhalf, ( I think his name was David Pachonick ), was in matric last year . Tom Price the scrumhalf is pretty decent.

    Schwartz was also in matric last year.

  21. @Vleis: Don’t underestimate the power of the double barrel surname … last year MHS lost the first fixture against Hilton , for the second fixture Liam Bowmaker-Wood was fit and played and MHS won , coincidence … I think not !

  22. @Bush: I think that the pack might be a bit light/small . The two locks aren’t the biggest ,and in the back row Kershaw isn’t the biggest flanker , and the other two loosies are both B Blockers … it could be long afternoon for House tomorrow .

  23. @Far Meadows: I will be biased, I think that pack has great ball skill. SBR has shown that size is not always king. Just speak to GW about that against HC last weekend. So I feel NK is an asset on the side of the pack. The two backrowers work well in the lineouts and get around the park well. Not scared to engage in the tough stuff either. Coming from U16 to Open is a big jump. Will take the first loose mall for those B Blockers to realize they are in the big league. House by 6 tomorrow?????

  24. @Far Meadows: What is that old saying about dogs and fight and size? In the Westville pack Veldsman and Slabbert must be 2 of the taller locks Westville have had in a while. If memory serves me correctly the No 8 JP Pelzer played lock 2 seasons ago
    @ Beet- I will be interested to see how Jesse Golding goes at LH prop.I seem to remember he was quite a tall back row player last year.

  25. DHS
    1. S. Nduzi
    2. L. Jojo
    3. M. Gumede
    4. C. Gumede
    5. C. Coleman
    6. K. Fatyela
    7. A. Mnguni
    8. P. Buthelezi (c)
    9. S. Nohamba
    10. L. Moletshe
    11. T. Ndudzo
    12. L. Menze
    13. O. Jiba
    14. L. Buthelezi
    15. C. Zondeki

  26. I think this will be the Hilton jersey numbers
    1 Jono Smit
    2 Timothy Densham
    3 Henty Beukes
    4 George Putter
    5 Andrew James
    6 Vaughn Williams
    7 Jared Venter
    8 Tristan Warren
    9 Graham Curtis
    10 Nicholas Winskill
    11 Daniel Da Costa
    12 Heinrich Marx
    13 Chipo Mupeso
    14 Thomas Fraser
    15 Gareth Schreuder

  27. @McCulleys Workshop: They beat them last year as well.Peter out coached his Westville counterparts but I am disappointed that there has been no progression as that year as a whole has a lot of potential. What were the B and C results.

  28. @star: Don’t know the other scores Westville convincing win in 16A (45 – 22) and 3rds Ville won by about 40.
    House just won 2nds 19 – 17, flattering to Ville.

  29. @Skywalker: 45-3 to Kearsney. If NW improved their first time tackle statistics and basic errors issue then it would have been a credible performance.

  30. Well a bit better than I thought I suppose. Thanks for the update. Worst NW team in a long time. Shame they are going to catch a hiding next week as well vs westville. Any age groups scores?

  31. Frustrating game to watch in the wind. Did not live up to hype. Good win for Hilton to get under the belt. 10.6 final score.

  32. I remember suggesting that Hilton was a side to watch this year and had a whole bunch of grunts from ex GW bloggers, watch this space. I think they will surprise a few sides this year.

    As for House today, No3 Knox up his hand up for higher honors, and Calvert-Evers was great, outgunning the favoured Ville locks. House brilliant support play and consistently avoided contact and ran into space.

  33. @McCulleys Workshop: what a gutsy performance that was .

    Ollie Calvert-Evers was outstanding, as were all three loose forwards ( I must eat humble pie here, I thought that they were going to be too small , but they complimented each other very nicely).

  34. If you can play rugby like that after 2 weeks. Jis I would hate to see how you do if you took it seriously. HOUSE 2 3 HOUSE. Where is Hopper????? And his ummmmmmmm

  35. I will be biased, I think that pack has great ball skill. SBR has shown that size is not always king. Just speak to GW about that against HC last weekend. So I feel NK is an asset on the side of the pack. The two backrowers work well in the lineouts and get around the park well. Not scared to engage in the tough stuff either. Coming from U16 to Open is a big jump. Will take the first loose mall for those B Blockers to realize they are in the big league. House by 6 tomorrow?????
    I’m rolling polony right now. Jis it’s feels really lekker.?

  36. Come on??? I’m sure I’m aloud(sorry I got an e for English) my jersey back. Hey Beet
    Please man Jis fok man

  37. @McCulleys Workshop: I’m sure Spear can make a jersey for me. Even if it looks a little like a Monnas one. After yesterday’s game House can take on anyone, GW is lucky we not playing them.
    If the Number 3 from House doesn’t make CW A side. Then Hopper can SMFC???????????

  38. it was a great day out and a very good schoolboy rugby game. that house pack is not to small they proved it yesterday they use their size and skill to suit their style of play. house tighthead and loosehead are machines and the locks cover a lot of mileage and theyve got great running backs always looking to create. that was a good win for house thats a powerfull westville team. bush i would love to meet you

  39. @pk terrier: Bush was the guy who tried to steal the Westville mascot but he relied on his 2017 prop speed not his 1991 wing speed, otherwise you might have been able to meet him at the Balgowan police station :mrgreen:

  40. you seem to know a little bit about rugby but maybe not great idea to meet you sound a bit rough :lol: but it was a good game and house is great team i certainly didnt expect that result

  41. @pk terrier: Who are you talking too? Are you talking to yourself? You must push the reply icon. House is a good team it’s such a pity we are not playing GW or GCB. What do you think PK. Would House cope????

  42. @beet: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: I think he relied on his 2017 Rooibos Gin speed, and that was pretty quick, now you see me now you don’t….

  43. cope ? what i saw yesterday the real question is will GW cope ? GW will prob out muscle them but House will out play them what i like about the House boys they look like normal size school boys but jeez they can play and its a pleasure to watch

  44. @pk terrier: I don’t think GW would be that much stronger man for man. House would be more skillful. Next time you at a game let’s hook up. I can show you the WBHS teddy bear that I have. Maybe you can take it and cuddle with it.

  45. @McCulleys Workshop: I refuse to pay while Bush has the Westville Mascot hostage. :lol: I think the deal also involved the Hilton game. With regard to the U15 B ,C and D Westville scored 156 points averaging 52(away from Home). It has always amazed me how House seem to turn things around come the Opens. I honestly believe it is about maximizing each boys potential while the bigger public schools sometimes take things for granted.

  46. I’m sitting with a huge dilemma…..I miss decent schoolboy rugby. The standard of KZN school games are dreadful…..I can compare it to Noordvaal Meduim Schools strength… seems that the only games worth watching will be the ones on TV and streaming…..and probably at KERF

    One good thing about the lousy rugby here is my tennis will improve on Saturdays

  47. @star: I think Bush took himself hostage and tied himself to a tree on Warriors Walk. He’s keeping his place for the GCB match on Meadows.
    I watched a few of the 14A games last year and thought MHS had a very good side and would improve through the age groups. That being said the rest of the sides had fairly big scores posted against them on Sat. Your theory isn’t accurate for the rest of the open sides with only the 1st and 2nds playing compelling rugby.


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