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Saturday 5 May 2018: Wynberg Boys' High reversed a ten-point halftime deficit to overcome their more fancied opponents, Boland Agricultural on the Hawthornden Field. The final score was 27 - 25 after the hosts trailed 5-15 when the teams changed ends.
The Berg are enjoying a successful start to the 2018 season, having recently beaten Rondebosch and then narrowly going down to another Boland powerhouse, Paarl Boys' High.
High-flying Boland Agri, one of the top rugby schools in recent years, started in typical fashion, their bigger forwards aiming to subdue their opponents. The tenacious Southern Suburbs boys surprised their opponents in the opening minutes, overshadowing the Paarlites. Yet it was the visitors who opened the scoring. It was a well-weighted chip kick by their livewire scrumhalf which sat up for his left wing to collect and score. The conversion put the agricultural students seven points in the lead.
With the wind behind them, the visitors kept their hosts pinned in their own half through some clever tactical kicking. A well-executed move off a Wynberg lineout in their own half saw centre Rethabile Louw creating space for fullback Wandile Notshe to put his team on the scoreboard.
The visitors extended their now scant lead to five points through a penalty conversion and then created some space between the teams on the scoreboard with another well-taken try, their halftime 15 - 5 lead established.
A large percentage of the Wynberg team is enjoying their second season of First XV rugby as they represented their school’s standard bearers while still in Grade 11. This maturity and experience are beginning to show and with this foundation Wynberg's Director of Rugby, Craig Childs, has a squad of determined, mature, and talented players who leave nothing on the pitch when the final whistle sounds.
The highly respected Boland Agricultural experienced this first hand on Saturday as the boys in blue and white hoops swamped them as the contest resumed, staggering them with a three-try combination. The first was set up by scrumhalf Dylan Munro with a deft offload to hooker Jason Alexander, who scored under the posts. Munro converted.
Indeed, much of the success of the Berg’s back play is by the space the half-back combination of Munro and flyhalf Kyle Lamb create.
From the kick-off, Wynberg moved the ball wide, outside centre Siyamthanda Nombakuse exploiting the space but found himself agonisingly close to scoring before being tackled. Prop James Pearse crashed over to give the hosts the lead for the first time in the contest. The conversion was unsuccessful.
Again from the ensuing kickoff, Wynberg surprised their opponents by striking back and moving the ball wide, Nombakuse setting up eighth man Inga Halu for a 30 metre run in for a try. Munro converted and the Berg had a nine-point lead.
The visitors consolidated and employed their bigger forwards in a series of pick up and drive moves. This tactic paid dividends and they reduced the lead to a scant two points.
With barely minutes on the clock, the visitors converted a penalty to take a 25-24 lead, pushing the hearts of the home supporters into their throats. Up stepped Munro, not normally first choice kicker but not afraid of a challenge. He calmly slotted a late penalty to give Wynberg a momentous one-point victory over their vaunted opponents.
A deserved victory built on solid and determined defence on the one hand and enterprise on the other.
“This was a great rugby spectacle, which saw a balanced appreciation of both exciting attacking rugby and well-organised defence”, said Childs.
Wynberg Boys' High School travel to Port Elizabeth to face Grey High School in their annual encounter.Match Report: Jon Harris, Rugby Journalist, and Wynberg Old Boy #WynbergMedia