This Saturday, the 27th of August, will once again see two Southern Suburb rivals take each other on for the 191th time since 1911 when the 1st Teams played each other for the first time. They played a once-off U16 match in 1908 which saw Bishops run rampant on the day, winning the encounter 112-0 with Painton Cowen scoring 86 points in the match. Bishops have older rivalries against SACS, St. Andrew’s College and Paul Roos but these matches cannot compare with the rivalry that has developed with Rondebosch Boys’ High.
This is one of the longest running interschool derbies in the country and because they play it twice a year, they have become quite used to facing one another at the end of each season. Pride and bragging rights are at stake for the next year in the leafy suburb of Rondebosch. The two schools are only about 400m apart and are situated in the shadows of the home of WP rugby: Newlands Stadium. Many a schoolboy from these two schools has moved from his home turf to Newlands to represent WP on the hallowed Newlands ground.
The encounter is played with the most beautiful background in South Africa; Table Mountain, casting its shadow over the Piley Rees field. It is fitting that Bishops plays some of the most beautiful running rugby in the country while Rondebosch Boys High school also plays an open style which makes this clash one of the most exciting matches to watch.
Bosch have won 74 games with Bishops having won 98 matches with almost one out of every 10 matches (18) ending in a draw.
Results down the Years
Bishops 2016 Season
Bishops have played twenty-two games so far this season with ten wins, eleven losses and one draw. Bishops produced one WP Craven Week player in utility back Lubelo Scott and another utility back in Sebastian Prentice who represented the WP at the Academy week.
Rondebosch 2016 Season
Match 1: vs Suttonians RFC in Dublin – 16 March 2016
RBHS 33 – Suttonians RFC 8
Match 2: vs Buccaneers RFC @ Dubarry Park, Clonbrusk – 20 March 2016
RBHS 100 – Buccaneers RFC 5
Match 3: vs Old Crescent RFC in Limerick – 22 March 2016
RBHS 57 – Old Crescent RFC 7
Match 4: vs Munster Development Team in Limerick – 23 March 2016
RBHS 31 – Munster 17
In comparison, Rondebosch only played nineteen matches so far, winning thirteen, losing five and drawing one (4 in Ireland). They had one representative in the WP Craven Week in winger “Magic” Mike Mavovana who was selected for SA U18 and played in the U19 International Series recently. Lock, Matthew Grobler was selected for the WP Academy team.*
The game will be broadcast live on SuperSport 1 from 14:00
You can also catch the build-up Premier Interschools Magazine Show from Wednesday 24 August at 17:15 on SS1 featuring Francois Louw.
Rugby at Bishops
There is a myth that William Webb Ellis started rugby. There is also a myth that Canon Ogilvie brought rugby to South Africa. In fact, he detested the game and did not want Bishops to play it. What he brought to South Africa in 1861 was a form of football at a time when there was no game called soccer and rugby football was played only at Rugby School. Canon Ogilvie’s game was based on what was played at his old school, Winchester College in Hampshire. George Ogilvie was a remarkable personality. His nickname was Gog and the game played at the Cape was often referred to as Gog’s Game or Gogball.
Bishops got the Cape playing football of this kind, starting with the South African College. Bishops and SACS may well have played each other as far back as 1892. Eventually clubs were formed, at first it was Hamiltons in 1875 and then Villagers and then in the late 1870s the rugby game was brought to the Cape and became generally accepted, as it had become in England in 1871. The Western Province RFU was then formed to regulate the game in the Western Province. Bishops, like SACS and then Victoria College out at Stellenbosch, played in the Grand Challenge competition of the WP RFU. That all changed with the coming of the school. In those early days Bishops had the advantage of coaching, especially by HH Castens, a South African old boy of Rugby School and Oxford. Then it also had the great South African rugby personality and thinker of last century ion Barry Heatlie, whose nickname was usually Fairy but also Ox. Heatlie, who helped found the Old Diocesans’ Union, also formed an Old Diocesans RFC. In forming the old boys’ union he – or rather his wife –had worked out colours. The predominant colour was green. In days when dyeing was the simplest way of getting rugby jerseys, the OD RFC decided to use myrtle green.
Touring teams came to South Africa in 1891, 1896 and 1903. In those days the local union would appoint a captain who would pick a team to represent South Africa and give them jerseys to play in. When Heatlie became captain in 1896 he gave them his club’s jerseys – and South Africa won for the first time. When he was again made captain in 1903 he gave his teams green jerseys again and South Africa won a series for the first time. South Africa still plays in green jerseys today. In 1903 Gerald Orpen of SACS and two Bishops men, Fairy Heatlie and Biddy Anderson, pushed through a recommendation that the springbok be added to the jersey. It had been intended for 1903 but first came to pass in 1906.
The following is the list of those acknowledged as Bishops internationals:
South Africa: Mauritz van Buuren, Harry Boyes, who was the first secretary of the SA Rugby Board when it was founded in 1889. Frank Guthrie, Bill Bisset, Jack Hartley, who is the youngest player ever to have represented South Africa. Charlie van Renen and his brother Willie. Percy Twentyman Jones, who became the president of the WP RFU and also played cricket for South Africa. Biddy Anderson, who captained South Africa at cricket and refereed a Test. FR Myburgh, Paul Scott, Davey Cope, the first man to kick a goal for South Africa in a test, who was killed in a train smash at Mostert’s Hoek on his way to a Currie Cup tournament. Theo Samuels who first scored a try for South Africa. Barry Heatlie (captain), Long George Devenish, who was for years a national selector. Joe Barry, Syd Ashley, Bertie Gibbs, Paddy Carolin (captain), who first devised the 3-4-1 scrum formation and regretted doing so. Mary Jackson, Barley Burdett, who died in World War I. Noel Howe-Browne, Bai Wrentmore, Geoff Grey, who became a national selector. DO Williams, George D’Alton, John Apsey (Prep only), Dendy Lawton, Howard Watt, Dennis Fry and his brother Stephen (captain). Tommy Gentles, Bobby Johns, Peter Whipp, Dugald Macdonald, Guy Kebble, Christian Stewart, Robbie Fleck, Selborne Boome, David von Hoesslin, Hanyani Shimange (Prep only), François Louw and their latest in Nizaam Carr.
Fleck, Boome and Von Hoesslin were in the same team at Bishops, when the star was Herschelle Gibbs.
Nick Koster (International Barbarians)
England: Reg Hands, Tuppy Owen-Smith (captain), Ossie Newton Thompson, Clive van Ryneveld, Christopher Newton Thompson (wartime), Stuart Abbott
Scotland: Harold McCowat, Beak Steyn, Mike Dickson, Donald Macdonald
Wales: Mike Davies, Haldane Luscombe
Canada: Christian Stewart
Zimbabwe: Mark Neill, Russell Ashley-Cooper (Many others played for Rhodesia)
Australia: Daniel Vickermann
Argentina: Barry Heatlie – which means that he played for two countries.
In addition, Bill Bisset and Biddy Anderson refereed tests.
In the 2003 World Cup Bishops had three old boys representing three different countries, a world first. Selborne Boom for the Boks, Daniel Vickerman for Australia and Stuart Abbot for England.
Basil Bey is the most successful Bishops coach of all times. From 1986 to 1989 Bishops only lost one game. That was in 1987 to Grey High.
Rugby at Rondebosch Boys’ High
Rugby at RBHS is steeped in tradition, pride and passion. The impressive list of provincial and national rugby players bears testimony to the depth of association between Rondebosch and top class rugby.
Rondebosch started off as a soccer playing school, but by 1904, rugby was being played on an unofficial basis. In 1906 soccer was dropped and the bold step was taken to enter a rugby team in the u/16 competition where it had to compete, among others, with those schools with colleges attached to them, namely Diocesan College, SACS and Stellenbosch. By 1913, the school won the u/15 and u/13 competitions. From this time onwards Rondebosch became a force in WP schools’ rugby, though it was 1922 before the School could win the u/17 Shield for the first time as well as the u/15 and u/13 competitions. The golden years of Rondebosch rugby were undoubtedly the 1960s. Three teams went through unbeaten in the years 1960, 1964 and 1967.
RBHS practices a professional and innovative approach to the school’s rugby with a comprehensive Performance Sports Testing programme. This programme assesses players’ physical strength/weaknesses in relation to his playing position. It focuses on the abilities all players should possess and aim to develop, to improve his performance profile. RBHS was the first school in South Africa that embarked on a study to maximize the safety of its players and adopt the programme. This includes using a sophisticated, research-based software tool designed to assist coaches and doctors to better manage a player’s return after sustaining a sports-related concussion. The system is called IMPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing).
The following is the list of those acknowledged as Rondebosch internationals:
South Africa: Gerald Thompson, Frank Mellish, Jackie Tindall, Willie Rousseau, Bennie Osler, Stanley Osler, Jock van Niekerk, Mervyn Ellis, Jack Gage, Alvi van der Merwe, John Apsey, Dendy Lawton, James Starke, Mike Lawless, Ian McCallum, Roy McCallum, Chris Pope, Derek van den Berg, Joel Stransky (at Rondebosch until his u/16 year), Gcobani Bobo and Hanyani Shimange.
England: Frank Mellish; France: Eric Melvill
Ireland: Dion O’Cuinneagain (captain), who also captained the South African Sevens side
USA Sevens: Dallen Stanford.
In the first test against the great 1974 Lions side of Willie-John McBride, three Rondebosch Old Boys were in the starting line-up for the Springboks at Newlands. Ian McCallum at fullback, his brother Roy McCallum at scrumhalf and wing Chris Pope. That was the only time the three ever played a test together. SA lost that test 12-3 and the Springbok selectors panicked and started what is now known as “the farce of ‘74” selection process. That test was the last of Ian McCallum’s eleven tests and the first of Chris Pope’s nine tests. Sadly, that was Roy McCallum’s first and only test. He deserved a second chance as much as anyone as he was a brilliant scrumhalf, but suffered behind a Springbok pack murdered by the British Lions. He paid the ultimate price for his forward’s lack of dominance.