Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival Report

Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival (2)

DHS participated for the first time in 10 years in the Annual Kearsney Easter Rugby festival, a much-welcomed change to the Easter trip up Johannesburg. The “Horseflies” were drawn against the might of Border: playing Selborne, Queen’s and Dale in consecutive matches. This was to be a mighty challenge for the Blue and Gold. A challenge that many thought would be a step too far. However, what appeared impossible soon became a stunning reality as DHS swept to an outstanding three wins in a vast array of conditions. This was in stark contrast to our 2017 Easter campaign and brought a renewed belief in the team as they prepare for the bulk of the 2018 season.
Match 1 : Selborne College : 16-13 Win
The first match pitted “School” against its most accomplished Border school. Selborne, with their combination of powerful runners and skilled backs, was a massive challenge. In what became the upset of the tournament, DHS showed little respect for the Border powerhouse on the field, meeting their challenges in all facets of the game. DHS set-piece was in fine form and this laid a strong platform for an upset. Credit must go to the tight-five, in particular props Marcel Nel and Mthokozisi Gumede, who anchored the scrum superbly and allowed the backs to make some outstanding set-piece strikes, The first try resulting from a scrum and a superbly timed cross field kick from flyhalf, Shakur La Douce, landing in the capable hands of fullback, Darren Booysen, for the first try of the game. DHS dominated the first half, this was defined by their dogged defence, providing sufficient line-speed to choke out any attack that Selborne mounted. However, the quality of the Selborne team showed in the 2nd half as they mounted attack after attack. DHS, although expended in their energy, managed to hold on to a deserved 16-13 victory and start their campaign off in fantastic fashion. DHS could have made it a greater lead had they finished some clear cut opportunities, but in the end were grateful that these lost opportunities did not come back to haunt them.
Match 2 : Queen’s College : 24-7 Win
The match against Queen’s was the 2nd game of the day and played in the most horrid conditions. With the rain bucketing down and the mist descending, much of the game was decided on the tactical nous of each side. It was a day when DHS shone superior in their tactical decision making and kicking execution. Flyhalf, Shakur La Douce, and left wing, Lwazi Moletshe, became the key catalysts in helping DHS find the territorial advantage. The forwards disrupted the opposition set piece and made life extremely difficult for Queen’s on the day. There were some classic pick-and-go tries from the forwards, loosehead prop, Marcel Nel, taking charge in this department. There were also two excellent individual moments of creativity from fullback, Darren Booysen, opening up a try for his wing, Malusi Ntuli, and another excellent piece of footwork from outside centre, Macneil Jenner, to score the last try of the game. Credit must be given to the unsung heroes of the team, locks Avumile Bongco and Setchaba Mathuse who tirelessly hit rucks and made tackles all day long to provide the platform for the tactical advantage to be gained. Ultimately, the team was well led by Captain Celimpilo Gumede, who negotiated the in-your-face tactics of Queen’s, and the “Horseflies” were able to come out with a convincing 24-7 victory.
Match 3 : Dale College : 39-0 Win
The final game of the tournament came against the free flowing Dale College. Often the last game is the hardest game to prepare for at these tournaments due to fatigue. However, the excellent efforts from Physiotherapist Michael Benporath in his recovery protocols allowed the boys to be in their best position as possible for the game.
“School” matched the Dale energy fire for fire and produced their best half of rugby in the festival, sailing to a 23-0 lead before the half time whistle. Captain Celimpilo was superb on a day that DHS highlighted their all-round capability. It was also a special day for Dale Junior Old Boys, Avumile Bongco and Xhanti Njokweni, who both made starts for the first team and acquitted themselves well. Although the attacking performance was good, it was the pride the boys showed in defending their line that gave the coaches the most joy – even towards the end of the game they were intent on keeping the opposition out. Although the 2nd half was a scrappy affair and left the entire DHS bench emptied due to exhausted bodies lying everywhere, the 39-0 victory was one to savour. It completed a very successful Easter festival, one very few would have predicted. It was a very good start to the season and will give the team much belief going forward.
Many thanks must go to the coaching team who worked tirelessly throughout. Manager Barry Coskey for his superb organisation and his voice of reason; Lyle Matthysen for his assistance on field and with all the fine details, Michael Benporath for keeping the players fit and well for the duration; and finally Forwards coach Ronnie Uys for his assistance and passion for all that is rugby!
Scott Mathie
1st XV Coach/Director of Rugby
Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival (1)  Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival (9)  Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival (8)  Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival (6)  Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival (3)  Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival (4)

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A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence.

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