A BRAVE BATTLE OF THE GIANTS
Glenwood high School in Durban hosted Grey College in a much-anticipated fixture on Saturday, 4th of August 2018 on their own Dixons battle ground. The clash between these two unbeaten giants of schoolboy rugby in 2018 promised to be epic. There was no doubt that this fixture would live up to everyone’s expectation.
Emotions were running high in the Glenwood camp with SA Schools players, Rynhardt Jonker and Lunga Ncube, leading the Green Machine pack in their very last game on Dixons.
The intensity was high straight from the kick-off with both teams running hard, trying to break through each other’s defence. Incredible efforts from both teams kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.
Glenwood was penalised for an infringement in a ruck on their 10m line. Grey’s flyhalf, Zander du Plessis, managed to just clear the crossbar, kicking against a strong wind. It was only the third time this season that Glenwood conceded the first points in a match. Grey was leading 0-3.
A couple of minutes later Grey was penalised for not rolling away after a tackle and Glenwood’s Joe Jonas equalled the score with an easy kick right in front of the poles. The score was 3-3.
The excitement grew, and the crowd were on their feet when Conan le Fleur broke through the Grey defence and passed to Joe Jonas. Jonas sprinted for the corner but was tackled just short of the line, resulting in him making contact with the corner post. The referee and his assistant declared the player was in touch before dotting the ball down. A sigh of relief for Grey.
With the score deadlocked at 3-3 Grey worked their way up the field, with strong runs from Richard Kriel, Wyclef Vlitoor and Andre-Hugo Venter. Grey found themselves inside Glenwood’s 22m but Impressive defensive efforts kept Grey short of their try line. And then Danwich Beukes snuck through and scored the first try of the match in the 22nd minute of the game. Zander du Plessis converted, and Grey was leading 3-10.
Glenwood immediately responded with their first try. Conan le Fleur again beat a couple of defenders to find some open space with one man to beat. He offloaded to George Luzolo, who powered his way over to score with a defender hanging on to him. The Green Machine was right back in the game when Joe Jonas converted to equal the score at 10-10.
Grey took the lead again just short of half time, courtesy of a drop goal from Zander du Plessis, right in front of Glenwood’s 22m. At the half time break Grey lead at 13-10.
The second half started with the same intensity as the first. Early in the half Grey was penalised for holding on to the ball and Joe Jonas calmly kicked another penalty for Glenwood, equalising the score at 13-13.
Grey’s second try happened in the 42nd minute against the run of play when a loose ball was pounced on and kicked ahead by Grey. A chase down the touch line, with a valiant defensive effort from Runako Brynard, but Grey collected the ball and dived over in the corner. The try was not converted and the score 13-18.
Glenwood powered their way with strong runs from Ruan Olivier, Lunga Ncube and Lindokuhle Luthuli, beckoning at Grey’s try line. With pick-up and go play, they were tackled just short. After five phases Rynhardt Jonker passed to right winger Jean Roux who burst over Grey’s try line in the corner in the 62nd minute of the game. Glenwood’s hard work and tenacity has been rewarded. The try was converted, and Glenwood was leading for the first time 20-18 in this match with the crowd on their feet.
Unfortunately for Glenwood’s fly half, Joe Jonas, a try was not awarded as the referees decided that the ball was held up by Grey.
Grey College found their way back to Glenwood’s 22m, testing the Green Machine’s defence. Glenwood turned the ball over when they held Grey up in the tackle on their try line. The crowd was excited as Glenwood had the chance to clear the ball and hang on to their lead. With a scrum to Glenwood right under the Grey poles Joe Jonas fed the scrum and as he picked up to pass, Grey flanker broke loose, intercepted the pass and dived over for Grey’s third try. Zander du Plessis converted, and Grey was back in the lead with 20-25 with only 15 minutes to play.
With a mere 2 minutes on the clock Grey had a lineout inside their 22m. Glenwood’s Lunga Ncube won the lineout and the Green Machine started surging their way back to the Grey try line, looking for that emphatic victory over Grey. With a ruck right on the try line, Dylan Pretorius passed the ball wide and with an overlap Rynhardt Jonker dived over in the right-hand corner for Glenwood. The crowd was ecstatic with the promise for a win. The try was not converted, and the score was level at 25-25.
Glenwood received the ball from the kick off. The clock was counting down from the last dying seconds when Glenwood decided to run from their try line. Siyanda Cele received the ball and side-stepped his way around Grey’s wing. He sprinted down the touch line and passed inside to Conan le Fleur. The crowd was on their feet and Glenwood supporters ran onto the field to watch Glenwood score. Grey’s fullback Richard Kriel hanged onto Conan le Fleur’s jersey to pull him down on the 22m.
Grey turned the ball over and started their counter attack, with both teams giving it their all. It was not meant to be as a handling error from Grey, deep inside Glenwood’s half, put an end to an impressive game. In the end exhausted players laying all over the field and the crowd stunned.
It was probably one of the hardest schoolboy rugby games we have witnessed, with two unbeaten teams going head to head. A real physical came to the end with a draw at 25-25.
Although none of the teams were crowned a winner, rugby was the winner with a showpiece of sportsmanship, camaraderie and teamwork at its best!
Report by Alex van der Merwe
Photos by Ethan Hayman (Media Club)