On Saturday Itembelihle Comprehensive School of New Brighton played Hoërskool DF Malherbe of Wailer and beat them 47-15 (26-3) in a game where Item played some scintillating rugby, attacking from all over the field, even from behind our own try-line!
For the first 60 minutes, DF was chasing shadows as the Itembelihle backline came at them with pace and skill, sparked by flyhalf Ntsika Jonas.
Item were first to score when they were awarded a penalty on DF’s try-line and flank and captain, Simamkele Gqala forced his way over for a try, converted by centre, Mphumzi Kete.
From another attack, centre Kete was stopped close to the DF try-line, and young prop, Mugsin Banzi barged over the try-line, only for the referee to rule that he was “unsighted” and therefore could not award the try! For the next ten minutes DF put Item under pressure at rucks, where, at times, they simply drove their opponents off the ball, and then put them under pressure with clever kicks to turn them.
DF were awarded a penalty on Item’s 22 and duly converted it.
The Itembelihle next try came from flank and man of the match, Akhona Sonti, when we turned the ball over in our half, and he went on the run, shrugging off would-be defenders, and scoring under the posts for Kete to convert.
Gqala was on the scoreboard again, when Item launched an attack from deep in their own half, Jonas broke and fed wing Sbu Mbatyoti who broke through. He was caught close to their line, lock Phumelela du Preez took the ball up and from the ensuing ruck, Gqala dived over for a try in the corner, Kete failed to convert.
From the kick off DF exerted pressure again and trapped Item in their own half with some good defence, but then came one of the game’s best solo tries, as flyhalf Jonas, broke from his own 10 metre line, dummied the opponents and then simply outpaced the opposition for a beautiful try. Kete converted and Item led 26-3 at half-time.
The second half started with us scoring an incredible try from the kick off, as the ball went to the backline. Jonas drew two defenders on him, fed Kete who got through a half gap. He fed Mbatyoti who broke through and when he was stopped, off loaded to outside centre Shoun Oniwe, who scored in the corner.
Itembelihle was on fire now. They received the kick off and fullback, Odwa Shuwana went on the run. He was stopped on his ten-metre line, and the ball went down the backline with centre Oniwe bamboozling the defence with some great sidestepping. He offloaded to wing Mbatyoti, who hit the line at full pace to score under the poles for Jonas to convert.
Credit to DF, they never gave up and kept coming at Item, but from a scrum on their 10-metre line, No.8 Kwi Tshaka broke and shrugged off the defenders for another try under the sticks, converted by scrumhalf, Makweila Mnyungula.
With ten minutes to go DF fought back and scored two good tries.
Players to stand out for Itembelihle were flyhalf Jonas, wing Mbatyoti, lock Du Preez and, “Man of the match”, flank Akhona Sonti.
By Theo Pieterse