DHS beats Michaelhouse 29-24 in memorable 2017 match

Van Heerden’s Field on the Berea was the setting of one of South African schoolboy’s many great adverts, when hosts Durban High School and Michaelhouse from Balgowan in the Midlands of Natal, combined to put on 70-minutes of virtually non-stop positive entertaining rugby action, with the home team emerging as 29-24 victors.

4 7-0 Michaelhouse started brightly and controlled play right up until one of a few of their below standard own lineouts during the match put them under pressure, resulting in knock-on and a turnover which DHS flank Asande Mnguni made into something with a useful carry. Soon afterwards DHS flyhalf Lwazi Moletshe made a great pass to his inside centre Lwandile Menze on the outside left. Menze had plenty still to do but he made the difficult look easy by rounding the Michaelhouse fullback and scores the opening try, which he then converts. Going back to Mnguni and his fellow flank Kamvelihle Fatyela, they were both low centre of gravity menaces at tackled ball breakdowns and also came up with telling ball-carries to add value to the DHS cause.
9 7-0 One of the themes of the match was the fatal last pass which due to its unusual frequency cost DHS dearly on the scoreboard. On this first occasion lovely ball handling had manufactures a path to the goal-line but after a would-be classic team try is completed, prop Mthokozisi Gumede is called back because the final pass to him near the line had been judged forward. The attack had been initiated by a MHS lineout overthrow.
12 14-0 DHS keeps MHS under pressure in the redzone and picks up the maximum reward. Off the back of a scrum 15m in from the left touch physical and mobile no.8 Pepsi Buthelezi who is one of the players of the match, carries strongly on a lateral run towards the posts. He is stopped just short but the damage was done and aided by a quick recycle, lock Celimpilo Gumede who proves to be another outstanding player  collects and forces his way over, making Menze’s conversion easy.
14 14-0 DHS are at this stage asking a lot of unanswered questions of MHS’s defence. Well timed running onto passes by the hosts opens up a gap for pacey left wing Tonderai Ndudzo to accelerate down field next to the touchline. However with ample support and not much resistance ahead, he too succumbs to poor final pass syndrome near the tryline which cost his team a definite 5-pointer.
18 14-7 MHS strikes back with a great team try scored by their player of the match Ollie Calvert-Evers who was simple outstanding. His willingness to get involved combined with a useful skillset and reasonable speed for a player of with a ±2m frame made for impressive contributions. This try was the end product of good ball recycling, effective use of the Van Heerden’s field width and very importantly there were two key moments in different phases where ball recipients (8: Frazer Jones and possibly 12: Dane Fisher) under duress to be caught in possession managed to get the ball away to keep the flow and momentum in House’s favour. Eventually DHS ran out of both defenders and ground to defend and so conceded the try. MHS flyhalf William Glassock added the extras.
20 14-7 In the absence of highly rated DHS scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba, Malusi Ntuli performs admirably. He is thorn in the side of MHS at times and when he snipes from the side of a ruck and set off on a good carry, it appears to be try on for School but instead of finding one of two support runners on the overlap on his outside, his pass is off target and goes into touch. Frustratingly for DHS another brilliant piece of play fails to earn a just reward.
22 14-7 MHS bounced back with attack of their own. Although there lineout does not go to plan, hooker Solomon Marx is quick to react and busts through the bodies at the setpiece formation to set off on a good carry which along with a well-weighted box kick by scrumhalf Tom Price, are the catalysts to set up the field position that eventually had DHS scrambling to stop MHS on their DHS tryline.
24 14-12 It was a momentary respite for DHS though. From the scrum deep inside their own 22, DHS attempts to carry the ball up off the back. Buthelezi’s power and separation initially make the hard-yards, but once tackled he was pinged for holding. A quick tap follows and MHS applies the pressure to suck in and disorganise defenders to the extent that it generates an overlap on the right and frees up inside centre Dane Fisher to pick an angled line between two stretched would-be tacklers. Fisher backs his own pace and crosses the white line to make it game on again.
25 17-12 A well-timed catch and run by Calvert-Evers at the kickoff, ends with DHS winning a penalty for holding and the impressive Menze banging it over from 40m out.
27 17-12 A knock-on by MHS results in DHS launching another counter. After a wrestling run, it’s scrumhalf Ntuli who comes up with another sniping line-break and distribution to captain Buthelezi who once again carries strongly, this time into the 22 area, where his pop pass does not go to hand and with it another chance for a try is butchered.
32 17-17 A set move from a scrum goes horribly wrong for DHS and in the mix-up and under pressure they knock the ball on. A quick reacting Glassock recovers it for MHS and feeds it to his halfback partner Tom Price, who shows a clean set of heels from 40m out to maintain the gap between himself and defenders attempting to close him down. Price scores near the right corner to level matters in this wonderful match.
35 24-17 DHS grabs back the lead just before the break when lock Celimpilo Gumede crosses for his second try, scored near the right corner. It was end product of several good carries which crucially involves retaining possession in contact. If one player had to be singled out for his contribution in this play, it would be flank Fatyela who did ever so well to stay on his feet and help generate the go-forward. Menze slots a difficult conversion.
Halftime 24-17 Great match with the ability to get over the advantage line being vital to the attractive attacking rugby on display.
42 MHS have a few of promising attacks. Aided by improved lineout work, flank Ant Fleischer takes a couple of good balls in the middle and it sets a good platform. However indecision in midfield end the redzone territorial gain.
44 24-17 DHS scrumhalf Ntuli spots an opportunity to attack down the left blindside and combines very well with his wing Ndudzo to earn about 20m of ground and help trap MHS offsides in a kickable position. This time Menze’s radar lets him down.
49 29-17 DHS scores a gem of a try. Lightweight flyhalf Lwazi Moletshe can take a bow because his decision-making and execution are instrumental in the build-up. First while his team are on attack near the MHS 22, a counter-ruck by House has DHS working off untidy backfoot ball. Under all sorts of pressure recipient Moletshe tucks the ball and ghosts through a gap near the ruck to reignite the go-forward with the help of a well-held onto pass to Menze in support. Soon afterwards Moletshe is back in his flyhalf position and sets off on a drift run where he connects with fullback Cham Zondeki who in turn uses his skill to get his hands through the tackle and produces arguably the offload of the match, a sublime try assisting effort that right wing Luthando Buthelezi gathers and races in to score out wide. Effectively this proves to be the match winning try!
52 29-17 Inside centre Menze bursts through midfield on a clean line-break. He feeds flyhalf Moletshe and even though there is still work to do, the field position and speed of the attack have try written all over it, however the quality of the next pass is once again not up to standard and gets knocked on.
Although the scoring is not influenced the excitement does not end. Michaelhouse are able to produce good continuity but they have issues identifying space and making the right pass decisions to truly threaten DHS. DHS remains in attack-minded adventurous mode and it sometimes works to their detriment as they concede turnovers in their own 22.
30 29-24 There’s reward for MHS for the continued pressure and territorial advantage. Star tighthead prop Rocky Knox is well guarded during the match but when he spins out of a couple of tackles and advances towards the DHS line, he helps with momentum which coupled with ball retention, allows left wing Wes Turkington to run in for a try that Glassock converts to give MHS a sniff of a victory. However there don’t appear to be any more meaningful opportunities after this one for the visitors who show great character.
Fulltime 29-24 The curtain comes down on a great game played with heart and in the right sportsmanlike spirit. For those who then went home to watch the dull Sharks-Rebels professional rugby match later that evening, they can be grateful that they got to balance out their rugby experience for the day thanks to the schoolboys, dedicated coaching staff and a society referee who most won’t remember because he did a good job of allowing the game to flow.


  1. Well done DHS. After a tough Saints week with 2 narrow losses we really needed this win. Friends at the game said the counter attacking was awesome. Hopefully us DHS supporters can enjoy a few more wins ! Thanks for all the details Beet!

  2. @Henkies: Henkies, I agree, the pace of the DHS counter attack was phenominal, as was the decision making. Full marks for that. Their passing in the House 22 was poor and should have resulted in additional points.


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