KES v Maritzburg College Historic Overview

May 3 • General News, Premier Schools • 2973 Views • No Comments on KES v Maritzburg College Historic Overview

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On Saturday 7th May Premier Interschools move up to Johannesburg to showcase another great schoolboy derby match. King Edward VII (KES) hosts Maritzburg College from Pietermaritzburg for their annual interschools sports. The weekend sport will culminate in the main event when the two schools 1st XV rugby teams run onto the hallowed turf of the “Red Army” at 14.30.


KES has had a quiet season so far, playing five with three wins and two losses while Maritzburg College had played seven so far with four losses, two wins and a draw. Admittedly, MC did have a few tougher opponents than KES did, but in the only common opposition they played in Pretoria Boys High, the two teams won with similar point’s difference. This might indicate that it will be a very close fought battle to gain the upper hand comes Saturday. 


Results the last 5 years


2011/05/07 28 20
2012/05/05 42 25
2013/05/18 8 30
2014/05/10 25 25
2015/05/09 33 34


KES is somewhat of a dark horse this season while College on the other hand is an established outfit under Coach Kevin Smith in his second year. They also have a few players returning that have 1st XV experience. Players to watch on the College team for 2016 is wing Xolisa Guma, Flyhalf Ruben van Blerk, Scrumhalf Lodewyk Muller (Son of ex Bok and Sharks prop Lood Muller), 8th man Craig Clover and powerful Cameroonian born flanker Durand Atembe.


The game will be a delayed broadcast on SelSA (channel 210) at 20.05 and on SuperSport 1 at 23.05


You can also catch the build-up Premier Interschools Magazine Show from Wednesday May 4 at 17:15 on SuperSport 1 featuring Neil McKenzie, Jesse Kriel and Scarra Ntubeni.


Schedule Date Series Episode Start Channel
04-May-16 Mutual & Federal Premier Interschools Build-up Eps. 3 – King Edward VII vs Maritzburg College 17:15 SS1 / SS1A
04-May-16 Mutual & Federal Premier Interschools Build-up Eps. 3 – King Edward VII vs Maritzburg College 22:45 SS8
05-May-16 Mutual & Federal Premier Interschools Build-up Eps. 3 – King Edward VII vs Maritzburg College 00:45 SelSA
05-May-16 Mutual & Federal Premier Interschools Build-up Eps. 3 – King Edward VII vs Maritzburg College 14:45 SS7 / SS7A / SS7N
06-May-16 Mutual & Federal Premier Interschools Build-up Eps. 3 – King Edward VII vs Maritzburg College 06:45 SS1 / SS1A / CSN
06-May-16 Mutual & Federal Premier Interschools Build-up Eps. 3 – King Edward VII vs Maritzburg College 17:00 SelSA / SelSA-Go
06-May-16 Mutual & Federal Premier Interschools Build-up Eps. 3 – King Edward VII vs Maritzburg College 18:00 SS1 / SS1A / CSN
07-May-16 Mutual & Federal Premier Interschools Build-up Eps. 3 – King Edward VII vs Maritzburg College 06:00 SS1 / SS1A
07-May-16 Mutual & Federal Premier Interschools Build-up Eps. 3 – King Edward VII vs Maritzburg College 06:30 CSN




KES Rugby History:


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 “god-father” 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




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 Habana also ended up at Toulon in France (since 2013). He previously represented Western Province (2010-2013), Blue Bulls (2005-2009) and Golden Lions (2004).


Bryan’s list of achievements in the Bok Green & Gold are particularly noteworthy:

  • Three-time South African Rugby Player of the Year (2012, 2007 & 2005),
  • Became the first South African to reach 50 Test tries.
  • He has scored the most tries in Vodacom Super Rugby of any South African.
  • He passed the great Joost van der Westhuizen’s long-standing record of 38 Test tries for South Africa at the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
  • Bryan was the IRB’s World Rugby Player of the Year in 2007.



Maritzburg College Rugby History:

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 Hermansburg 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 headmaster 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. His teams’ record was:


His teams in the 1950s and early 1960s were particularly successful, at one stage losing only five matches in 11 years.


Skonk’s successors were scarcely less successful. The 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.

When a banquet was held in his honour a few years back, Nicholson was asked to name his College Dream team for the era 1948-1982.

List of College Springboks (Test Caps Only)

Debut Year Player
1913 Eddie Shum
1921 Wally Clarkson
1924 Bill Payn
1924 Bertram van der Plank
1928 Phil Nel
1937 George Van Reenen
1960 Keith Oxlee
1962 Ormy Taylor
1969 Andy van der Watt
1993 Joel Stransky
2001 Butch James
2007 Peter Grant

A further two players received springbok colours for going on tour, but never played in a test match. Jeremy Thomson (1996) and Pieter Dixon (2000). n 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).


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