Ronnie Uys is fondly remembered as Flippie van der Merwe / Uini Atonio category prop from his provincial rugby playing days. These days amongst other things, he’s a top coach at club and school level; back working at Durban High School for another spell after enjoying much success the last time around, during their renaissance which produced the likes of Sharks captain Phepsi Buthelezi and talented scrummy Sanele Nohamba.
A recent Born to Dominate Weight Loss Facebook post about Ronnie reads like this:
high blood pressure healed, gout healed, 32cm fat lost around the stomach, a record breaking 41kg weight loss in 12 weeks and went back to playing rugby
An amazing body transformation!
Assistant coach Ronnie may soon have to ensure the insults of being mistaken for a backline coach if he continues on his current path.
As incredible as the 41kg achievement is, there is another potentially bigger turnaround story busy writing itself in Essenwood, involving the Durban High School 1st XV, whose compass is now pointing true North after a very shaky start to their 2022 campaign.
Given their slow start to the season, by mid-April anyone would have been forgiven for believing that “School” would be competing for the province’s wood-spoon. That pretty much sums up just how quickly they have come right under the guidance of new head coach Peter Engledow, whose past experience includes coaching the Griquas in the Currie Cup and Paarl Boys’ High.
DHS have now just broken their Goldstones field record on the way to beating their oldest KZN rivals Maritzburg College 38-14 on Saturday, 23 April 2022. Making this victory impressive is that College are a decent team this season.
This big win follows hard on the heels of what was at the time defined as an over-achievement at the recent Kearsney Easter Festival, where DHS won two out of three, including a very respectable narrow defeat to Monument, one of the best teams in the country this year. Their form earned them the Team of the Festival award.
In terms of schoolboy rugby, this kind of extreme change in fortunes is quite unusual.
It is evident that the team has clicked.
There is a lot of work ahead but if they can keep it up, they are destined to finish in the Top 20 this season, which will be no mean feat, given how competitive schools in that same bracket are in 2022.
Next up is the new environment of the ABSA Wildeklawer tournament in Kimberley. This will be followed by a very challenging month of May fixtures as well as the main portion of the KZN youth week trials, where many of the players look certain to be in the reckoning for places.