Selborne in master class act

The side pulls off a close win over Grey High, their top Eastern Cape rivals

Selborne College's James Flanagan crosses the tryline during their game against Grey High from Nelson Mandela Bay.
Selborne College's James Flanagan crosses the tryline during their game against Grey High from Nelson Mandela Bay.
Image: Michael Pinyana

In an absolute grandstand finish to the school rugby season Selborne College produced a fantastic comeback against fierce Eastern Cape rivals Grey High School to claim a breathtaking 31-26 win on Thursday afternoon.

Selborne flank Troy Mynhardt made the telling breakthrough just three minutes from time, receiving a cut out pass from impressive flyhalf Jordan Janse van Rensburg to fly through a gap on the Grey 22m and score to the left of the posts.

The try put Selborne ahead for the first time of the match, since trailing from the third minute and Janse van Rensburg's extras gave them a five-point buffer, which they managed to hold onto over the final few tense minutes.

Selborne went into the match without their best five players, who had all been called up to the South African Schools team for the international series against Wales, France and England, which set them back a bit.

However Grey themselves were missing a number of first choice players through injuries which seemed to level the playing field a bit.

The first 22 minutes of the first half belonged to the visitors as they looked to take a good early lead in the match.

Visiting inside centre Louis du Preez got Grey on the board early, receiving the ball on the Selborne 22m and stepping past a few tackle attempts before going over with two tacklers on him for the first try.

Flyhalf Matthew Easton added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

In the 10th minute Grey then got their second after good play in Selborne’s half ended with an overlap on the left-hand wing with Enrique Franks cruising over in the corner untouched, while a good touchline conversion from Easton made it 14-0.

A mistake from Selborne in the 22nd minute then allowed Grey in for their third as the hosts were ripped off the ball trying to run from their 22m, with the ball then recycled by the visitors before right wing Joshua Oosthuysen got it just short of the line and dived over in the right-hand corner.

Easton’s first miss of the match meant the score stayed 19-0.

Selborne then finally forced their way back into the match, first good forward play in Grey's 22m ended with flank Dean Stokes forcing himself over from close-range in the 26th minute.

On the stroke of halftime a good break from fullback Jarrod Ramsey into the Grey 22m saw him offload to left wing James Flangen who stepped inside and dived over to the left of the posts.

Janse van Rensburg missed both conversions as the teams went in with Grey 19-10 up.

The first 10 minutes of the second half then belonged completely to Selborne, but the home side knocked on and were held up just metres short as the visitors defence stood strong.

This allowed Grey to score against the run of play, flank Yolisa Dladla crashing over from close-range after good play in the Selborne 22m, with Easton’s conversion putting them 26-10 up after 48 minutes.

The Selborne comeback then began as outside centre Likhaya Tengimfene scored in the 53rd minute and Janse van Rensburg went over himself in the 58th, with both his conversions making it a two-point game and setting up the late drama.

This result meant that Selborne ended the season unbeaten in the Eastern Cape and with a superb record of 15 wins against just three losses, while they finished off the season with an impressive run of seven victories on the trot.