In the aftermath of home side DHS first XV retaining the Skonk Nicholson Cup with a 45-30 win over Maritzburg College on Saturday, 19 May 2018 in an exciting match spiced with high-tempo adventurous running rugby, at-times astonishing combination play, intelligent tactical and clearance kicking plus superb shots at posts with the boot, it’s always a treat to hear the stories of Old Boys who represented the Blue and Gold or Red Black & White in those epic traditional KZN derbies from many (and not so many!) years ago.
Here’s Lyle Matthysen – a School man through and through who is an integral part of the DHS coaching staff – current (2018) captain and number 8 Mpilo Gumede, last year’s dynamic loose forward and captain Pepsi Buthulezi and fellow 2017 playmaker (at 9 or 10) supreme Sanele Nohamba (all 3 SA Schools in 2017) just three of the many Durban High School boys that have benefited in one way or another from the intelligent “Skylo’s” input.
Pepsi’s DHS Team of 2017 played some of the most exhilarating KZN schoolboy rugby you are ever likely to see.
“Thanks Jono, I coached Sanele and Pepsi as U15’s and have been involved with them from the start of there 7’s careers, so it was extra special to be part of them with the 1st team last year.
“I played DHS 1st team in my matric year. Unfortunately I suffered concussions, therefore I only managed to gain 9 caps; however it was still enough to keep the number 15 fullback jersey.
“I played against College on Van Heerdens and we lost 31-13. We were simply physically out-muscled by a very strong College team. A standout for College was (front-ranker) Nick Schonert who has now played for the English Saxons.”
This special rivalry also creates strong bonds across the school divide
“In my Grade 11 year I played for the 2nd XV and played against College twice. The first game on Van Heerdens was extremely special as it was the first time that our floodlights were turned on. We lost the game, but it was an absolute humdinger with the score ending 8-7. The atmosphere was something I had never experienced before. However the second fixture at Goldstones wasn’t that great for us and we caught a proper smack! I definitely felt the effect of Goldstones that day!”
“A standout player for my first XV in 2009 would be been our captain and inside centre Justin Christoforus. A real no-nonsense, hard-running centre known for his defence!”
Of course, this special rivalry also creates strong bonds across the school divide –
Here’s Lyle to tell it: “Very good College friends of mine would be Ant Pissara and Dean Pengelly. Myself and Dean were both at Durban Prep so our bond continued as we went to high school. Ant was equally passionate about College as I am for DHS, so the banter and camaraderie made us really good friends.”
Ahead of the match today, these were Lyle’s last words: “DHS is the oldest school in Durban. No matter what happens, win or lose, it will always be an immense honour to wear the Blue and Gold. To this day, it is still one of the proudest moments of my life – playing for the 1st XV.”
I love Lyle’s last paragraph – it says so much about Lyle the person and so much about the heritage of DHS rugby.