KES take on Maritzburg in another Premier Interschools match
King Edward VII vs Maritzburg College Historic Overview
The Premier Interschools journey takes us to Johannesburg this coming weekend where Maritzburg College will be hosted by King Edward VII on Saturday 27 August 2019. The last 10 results show that KES is slightly ahead with five wins and College having three wins with two matches drawn. KES have dominated the last three encounters winning both the matches in 2018 as well as the 2017 clash.
Last 10 Results:
KES 2019 Season:
KES is having a very good 2019 season with wins over Wynberg Boys High, Affies, Jeppe (1st game) and Waterkloof to name but a few. They currently find themselves in the top 10 rankings of schoolboy rugby in South Africa. They had 4 players that represented the Lions at this year’s Craven Week in Bloemfontein, with a further 3 players representing the Lions XV.
Maritzburg College 2019 Season:
Maritzburg College is not having one of the best seasons according to their own high standards and has only won 57% of their matches so far. They recorded good wins against Michaelhouse and Kingswood but got thoroughly beaten by Affies two weekends ago, incidentally, the same team that lost against KES.
College only had 2 players representing the Sharks at Craven Week this year, but lock Wandile Hlophe made the SA Schools team as well.
Rugby at KES
Shortly after Desmond Davis, an Association Football enthusiast, retired in March 1931, plans were laid by his successor and “father” of all sport at King Edward, “Robbie” Robinson to start rugby at the School in the 1932 season. To this end, he enlisted the help of a “godfather” in the person of Eric F.K. Tucker. He persuaded the Transvaal Rugby Union to level and grass an ugly dusty slope on the School grounds to transform it into two rugby fields to be available for the 1932 season.
On 27 April 1932, the School’s fields were opened when the Chairman of the Governing Body, and ex-Matie, H.J. Hofmeyr kicked off the first ball. On that occasion, Frank Robinson expressed the wish that King Edward boys would repay the Transvaal Rugby Union in due course by reproducing in senior rugby, what they had learned while at School.
As early as 1931 the School rugby colours had been decided. For the 1st XV cardinal red jerseys with white collars and a badge and white pants and red and white ringed socks. The rest of the School were to play in red white and green ringed jerseys with dark blue pants and black stockings with red and white tops. And so it has continued to this day with the obvious change to the socks and to white pants for the whole School. It was only in 1935 that the badge was incorporated.
Bruce Macdonald who left the School in 1939 was selected for Transvaal and is the first ex-K.E.S. boy to have played in a Currie Cup final in 1947. The 1956 side produced two provincial players via. A. Miller and J. Faber, while A.H. Bladen was a member of the 1961 side, and he was eventually selected for the Junior Springboks. Norman Picker’s (later a Transvaal player) 1968 side with a 100% record after 17 games played. A few other names from past decades that played representative rugby are: L. Barnard, G. Lawless, E. van der Merwe, R. Keil, S. Marot and D. Malherbe
List of KES Springboks
Henry Martin “Skaap” Forrest was the first old boy to represent the Boks. He played 7 tour matches on the 1931-32 tour to the British Isles and Ireland. He represented Transvaal before making his Springbok debut in 1931 (aged 23) against Swansea. The School has memorabilia kindly donated by Mr Forrest on display in the School Museum. He is recorded as Bok 229 by SARU. Interestingly enough Henry Forrest played no rugby at School, only 2nd team soccer (rugby only started at the school in 1931) and only took up the game at Wits Rugby Club. In his first season (1929) he was selected for Transvaal and two years later became a Springbok Tourist. The school then had a lengthy wait before “Big Joe” made it onto the Bok roll of honour. Bok 719 is Joe van Niekerk. Big Joe played 52 tests in all and was SA Rugby Player of the Year (2002). The huge, athletic loose forward also captained South Africa at U21 level.
Joe van Niekerk represented Golden Lions (2001-2002 & 2008), Western Province (2003-2007) and capped his career off at Toulon (from 2009 to 2013). As captain of Toulon, he put in consistently strong performances, earning the accolade as the best player in the French Top 14 in 2009.
Bryan Gary Habana became Bok 766. More impressively he became only the 4th Bok in history to earn more than 100 caps! Interestingly Brian also ended up at Toulon, France (since 2013). He previously represented Western Province (2010-2013), Blue Bulls (2005-2009) and Golden Lions (2004).
Malcom Marx became their 4th Springbok when he was picked for the South African team to play in the tri-nation series in 2016.
Rugby at Maritzburg College
Maritzburg College is traditionally the dominant school rugby force in KwaZulu-Natal. The first recorded rugby match in the province of Natal took place in the Market Square of Pietermaritzburg in October 1870. The contestants were Maritzburg College (then known as Pietermaritzburg High School) and Hermannsburg School. Played on a sun-baked, wheel-rutted, gravel surface, the contest lasted for more than three hours and ended in a victory, for the High School, by two goals to nil.
The arrival of James Mervyn (Skonk) Nicholson, as a master at Maritzburg College, signalled a revival in the school’s rugby fortunes. From 1948 he coached the First XV for 35 consecutive seasons, until 1982. In 1949 the First XV was unbeaten, as were ten other teams of his, while a further thirteen First XVs during that period lost only one match each.
The legendary JM (Skonk) Nicholson
His teams in the 1950s and early 1960s were particularly successful, at one stage losing only five matches in eleven years!
Skonk’s successors were scarcely less successful. 1985, 1988 and 1995 teams were unbeaten and four other First XVs lost only one match. Since the turn of the new century, College has often found it difficult to match those statistics. The reasons for this are many: the increasing importance placed on sporting success by schools; the greater spread of talent, often owing to lucrative bursaries offered to promising players; the erosion of the rural core of College boarders; and the greatly strengthened fixture list.
The First XV’s record, however, represents only a fraction of the rugby played at Maritzburg College. Every weekend, as many as thirty teams take the field, playing the game with fierce enthusiasm and pride. The school’s rugby success is therefore built on a very firm and broad foundation.
For many years, Maritzburg College’s rugby has been characterised by the rugged qualities and outstanding support work of its forwards, the hard running and punishing tackling of its backs and an eagerness to move the ball at every reasonable opportunity. Most notable, however, is the fierce determination and spirit typifying College teams and imbuing them with an indomitable will to win.
Maritzburg College’s superbly consistent record, great depth of talent and enviable reputation for a hard but sporting approach to the game have made it, historically, the premier rugby school in KwaZulu-Natal. No one would seriously dispute College’s right to that title.
List of College Springboks:
In addition, several College Old Boys have represented other countries: Hubert Freakes and Geoff Appleford (England), Juan Grobler and Chad Erskine (United States), Brenton Catterall (Zimbabwe), Wim Visser (Italy), Frank Goedeke (Germany) and Andrew Binikos (Cyprus).
The game will be broadcast live on Saturday 27 July on SuperSport Thirteen from 12h55.
You can also catch the build-up Premier Interschools Magazine Show from Wednesday 24 July at 18:45 on SuperSport One featuring Scarra Ntubeni and Dan Kriel.