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.
DHS’s counterattacking was of a very high standard good during this match. They 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 captain slash 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. Their territory and possession was turned into points when in-form kicker Cameron Miller (9) banged one over from 40m out in the 11th minute, making it 7-3.
One of Northwood’s standout players in broken play was tighthead prop Daniel van Huizen. Apart from being an effective ball-carrier, he also had a big hand to play in the Knights’ opening try. He caused the turnover at a tackled-ball well inside the DHS half which paved the way for the ball to travel elegantly through the hands of both centres to right wing Macmillian Mudara, who swandived over in the right corner. Miller made the difficult kick look like a piece of cake and the home team held the lead at 10-7 for the first and last time starting in the 19th minute.
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 their School controlled possession using a series of pop passes to attack fat man’s alley. Once the desired effect of unsettling the defensive structure was achieved, 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 after left wing Keane Fourie had collected a kick and weaved his way traffic to establish an attacking platform well inside the opposition half. 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.
Right after the next kickoff DHS were pinged and another sweet strike by Miller narrowed the gap to 19-13 in favour of the visitors.
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 regather the ball though and big Dutch international centre Tyren Kroos attacked before making a really good pass to prop van Huizen. In the end it was close but no cigar for the home team, who just could not capitalise during this exciting whistle-less passage of play.
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.
Kickoffs had become a bit of a lottery, with Northwood winning back their next one and going on to be awarded a series of penalties, which they chose to tap-and-go from. Hard to stop and underutilised centre Kroos soon crossed for his team’s second try. With the injured Miller being replaced, flyhalf JP du Preez converted to reduce it to a 31-20 scoreline.
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.
Northwood ended on a high. Surprisingly they chose a scrum from a penalty awarded outside the DHS 22m area. From this setpiece they executed a set move to perfection. Wing Mudara operated on a line near the scrum and after unsettling the first defensive line, he offloaded to centre Kroos, who was again strong on his feet and too much for the defenders to handle. He broke through and scored, with du Preez knocking over the kick, for a final score of 50-27.
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.
Northwood are showing that they now have a more balanced game between forwards and backs, which is bound to start reaping the sort of rewards they are targeting very soon.
During this match both teams looked good with the ball while the art of defence left much to be desired in parts. However considering that between them, DHS and Northwood are stacked with young representatives who will return in 2019, things are really looking up for both schools.
|1||Aston Sparks||1||Marcel Nel|
|2||Bayanda Cele||2||Mpendulo Sibiya|
|3||Daniel van Huizen||3||Mthokozisi Gumede|
|4||Ciaran Bigwood||4||Avumile Bongco|
|5||Pepijn Honing||5||Setchaba Mathuse|
|6||Sivuyisiwe Mpendu||6||Asande Mnguni|
|7||Siyamukela Ndlovu||7||Adrian Dirks|
|8||Chulumanco Mfakadolo||8||Celimpilo Gumede|
|9||Cameron Miller||9||Jaydian Cedares|
|10||JP du Preez||10||Shakur La Douce|
|11||Keane Fourie||11||Lwazi Moletshe|
|12||Joep Hensilijn||12||Sfundo Mkhwanazi|
|13||Tyren Kroos||13||Macneil Jenner|
|14||Macmillian Mudara||14||Malusi Ntuli|
|15||Nhlonipho Ndleba||15||Darren Booysen|