King Edward VII School (KES vs Maritzburg College 2012 - School Rugby

Premier Inter-Schools: Maritzburg College vs King Edward VII School (KES) on 18 May 2013

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Maritzburg College will play KESon Saturday 18 May 2013, in the next Premier Interschools, televised  on SuperSportHD1 at 2:55pm. The match will be played at Goldstones, Maritzburg College’s hground.


Maritzburg College vs. KES -Rudolph Pollard

Notes and background

Given home ground advantage of Goldstones and current form, Maritzburg College must surely be the favorite to take the honors against KES come Saturday. History will show that in the last 4 years KES was victorious 3 times and twice on Goldstones in 2009 and 2011. That is a rare feat indeed for College’s home ground is a difficult place for any away team to win. The cold facts however shows that KES has had a difficult 2013 and have to date only won 2 out of their 8 games with the last 6 all ending as a lost for the pride of Jo’burg. Maritzburg College has had an up and down season so far, played 10, won 5 , lost 3 and 2 draws, their one good win coming against Grey PE. So while both schools are not enjoying the best of seasons, it should still be a cracker of a game between two very proud rugby powerhouses with perhaps a slight advantage to the home team.

Key Players

KES will do well to keep College’s pacy wingers Lindo Ncgobo and Banele Ngwenya in check. Both are in the KZN CW trials and they can create something from nothing. The irony is that the KES captain and stalwart is also a wing in Godfrey Ramaboea and he will thus have extra pressure on him knowing he opposes one of College’s key players. With the two packs on an even par, the game might just be decided out wide!



Maritzburg College


Maritzburg College,locally known as only “College”, was founded as the Pietermaritzburg High School in 1863 to accommodate the influx of children arriving at the new city of Pietermaritzburg and its surrounding farmlands within the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. As the school swelled, city architects were commissioned to build a larger classroom and boarding block, which was completed in 1888 and later became known as “Clark House”, honouring the school’s third headmaster, Mr RD Clark (MA (Oxon)), who is often referred to as “the Father of College”. Clark House is a Pietermaritzburg landmark and carries South Africa’s heritage seal, certifying it as a national monument. A similar honour was bestowed on the school’s Victoria Hall, the building of which was commenced in 1897 (Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee year) and which served as a British Army hospital from late 1899 until mid-1900 during the Second Boer War.

The school crest is a red shield with a crossed carbine and assegai over the Latin scroll bearing Pro Aris et Focis (For Hearth and Home). Debate has taken place as to the origins of the school’s crest and colours of red, black & white. A popular belief is that they highlight the various skirmishes, battles and wars between the British and the Zulu that took place in the late 19th century, with the colours representing the warring parties (white and black) and the blood that was shed between them (red). As recently as 2005, this issue had not been conclusively settled by the school’s Archives Committee. As an aside, four Old Collegians perished during the famous Battle of Isandhlwana, at which over 1,300 British and colonial troops were slaughtered by the Zulus on 22 January 1879, during the Zulu War. A memorial in honour of those fallen Old Boys was unveiled on the battlefield in 1969.

Rugby at Maritzburg College

Maritzburg College is traditionally the dominant school rugby force in KwaZulu-Natal. This year they are 150 years old and they celebrated with not one, but two rugby festivals!. First the Maritzburg College 150 festival was held at the end of March where some of the top schools like Affies, Grey PE, Queens College, Dale College, Rondebosch Boys and Jeppe Boys participated. They were also awarded the privilege to host the 2013 Wildeklawer Top Schools tournament at the end of April that is now widely regarded as the top festival for schools rugby in the country.

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. His teams’ record was:

Played             Won                 Drew               Lost

504                  403                  49                    52


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. 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. No one would seriously dispute College’s right to that title.

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



Maritzburg College boys have won 22 South African Schools caps, an achievement surpassed by only one South African school.

SA Schools Representatives


MK Thompson
BV White
1976 PJ Lindsay
1977 PJ Lindsay
1978 DJ Mills
1979 CM Jamieson
1984 JT Stransky
1985 SR Glover
1986 JRD Thomson


BW Catterall*
UH Goedeke
DAG Reed
WG Wilson
1989  CD Mayer
1994 WGA Munn
1995 PJ Dixon*
1996 RC Kelly*
1997 RF Linde


PJ Grant
EA Penzhorn
B Squires

*Captained SA Schools.

Old Boy Joel Stransky (1984) became the darling of South Africa when he won the 1995 Rugby World Cup for his country with a superbly taken drop goal in extra time of the finals.

Joel Stransky with his most famous of drop goals!

World Cup Rugby Finals and College Old Boys is no stranger to each other, be it in playing capacity or official’s capacity. A career in rugby refereeing which started when he was a spindly 15-year-old on the backfields of Maritzburg College reached its glorious summit when Old Boy Craig Joubert took charge of the Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and France in 2011.

List of College Springboks (Test Caps Only)



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

Famous Maritzburg College Springbok Flyhalves

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) 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).


King Edward VII profile

In 1902, when the Boer War came to an end, there was an urgent need for schools in the Transvaal. The Milner Administration, in search of suitable buildings in which to establish temporary classrooms, found a vacant cigar factory in Johannesburg, on the corner of Gold and Kerk Streets, which was chosen as venue for “The Government High School for Boys”, also known as the “Johannesburg High School for Boys”. Thus was born a school which ultimately became the King Edward VII School.

It grew so rapidly that, in 1904, it was moved to Barnato Park where it was established in the mansion that originally had been designed for the mining millionaire Barney Barnato, who died at sea in 1897. At its new location, it was referenced as “Johannesburg College” but, within seven years, the premises were deemed inadequate and, in 1911, the school was moved to its present site on the Houghton ridge where new buildings had been impressively-designed and specifically constructed for the school. The time frame, within less than a year after the founding of the Union of South Africa and the death of Queen Victoria’s eldest son and successor, Edward VII, led to the proposal that the institution’s name be changed to honour his memory, thus establishing the appellation, King Edward VII School.

The School remains a public school; with an enrolment of over 1,000 boys from grades 8 to 12 (ages 13 to 18). King Edward VII Preparatory School, which is situated adjacent to the High School and shares its grounds, caters to boys from grades 0 to 7. Nearly a century old, the school buildings of King Edward retain their impressive appearance and are considered national monuments. These include the school hall, the back facade, the front facade, the lecture theatre and library wing, the memorial wing and the cenotaph in the main quad. They are also fully committed to fulfill their duty to the school and offer newly renovated classes, a modern and renovated lecture hall, one of the biggest libraries in Gauteng, three state-of-the-arts IT centers with 110 computer stations, art centers, a museum, historic hall and theatre built by the Dramatic Society in previous decades.


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 “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 colors 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-KES 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.



There are many old boys plying their trade as rugby players, especially recently in the U19 and U21 provincial tournaments. However in the senior set up during the 2012/13 campaigns have had the following Old Boys represent the following unions: L Ruiters (Cheetahs Vodacom Cup), J Meyer (Sharks Vodacom cup),  M Marx (SA u/20 Squad);

W Mjekevu (Lions, Sharks, SA 7’s and SA U20), S Ntubeni (DHL Stormers), B Habana (DHL Stormers & Springboks) & J Van Niekerk (Captain of Toulon).


The following players from KES have and/or currently represented South Africa on the rugby field:

Joe Van Niekerk (2001 – 2008) & Bryan Habana (2004 – Present)

The latter is arguably KES’s most famous rugby player.  He currently holds the record for the most tries scored in Bok tests as well as equaling the record for most tries scored at a Rugby World Cup tournament which he achieved in the 2007 RWC in France. Bryan was named the 2012 SA Player of the Year, receiving this accolade for a third time. Habana also won the Try of the Year award at last year’s IRB awards, for his outstanding solo effort against the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship in Dunedin.

With the current crop of excellent youngster coming through the ranks, one can be assured that KES will keep on producing rugby players that will go on to represent their country one day.


Historic Results 1959-2012:

1959 3 22
1983 9 21
1985 9 25
1992 12 31
1996 13 10
2001 12 14
2009 52 14
2010 14 26
2011 28 20
2012 42 25
Played 10
KES won 4
MC won 6


The teams & fixtures for 18 May 2013 click here

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