On Saturday 16 August a long and memorable rivalry will be continued when Maritzburg College from Pietermaritzburg once again step onto the hallowed turf of Grey College in Bloemfontein. These two schools share a rich history in rugby and played each other on regular basis until the Interschools was discontinued after 2 008. Now, in 2014, they once again take up the battle and a great tradition will continue.
These two great schools first met on the rugby field as far back as 1940 when Grey won that encounter 6-0. College had to wait 45 years to avenge that defeat and in 1985 they eventually got that chance. Grey traveled to Pietermaritzburg with 4 SA Schools players in Chet Maherry (Lock), Frans Cronje (Hooker), Buks Steenkamp (Centre) and Henk Prinsloo (Fullback). Prinsloo came with a big reputation and a big boot.
Both of these were demonstrated to the College crowd on that day. Grey Old Boy Marius Massyn remembers: “Henk had a fantastic game on fullback. He scored our (Grey’s) first try to go 4-0 up. His name was on
everyone’s lips and with his long line kicks he kept driving College back into their own half
”. College
had two SA Players of their own in Joel Stransky
and Shaun Glover plus they had a young Jeremy
Thompson who would later represent South Africa
during the End of Year Tour in 1996.
Henk Prinsloo
ball in hand against College in 1985
with
Kenny O’Connor as tackler on the left. (
Photo courtesy of
Kenny O’ Connor
:
MC 1985
)
The famous 1985 match was also a showdown between two of South Africa’s most
talented fly halves that both represented South Af
rican Schools (Joel Stransky
’84 SA
Schools and Pieter de Haas
’86 SA Schools Vice
Captain) while Pieter and Jeremy
Thompson were matching up as centers a year later in Bloemfontein.
Pieter de Haas (left) and Callie Human
Joel Stransky playing for College 1985
Pieter de Haas, the Grey flyhalf recalls: “
We arrived in Maritzburg as favorites that day
.
They
dominated us up front and therefore
could put pressure on us the whole time,
more pressure than we had at any oth
er
time during that year. Joel used this to
good affect and we had very little
opportunity to attack. The crowd was very
intimidating and it was a nail biter right to
the end but College deserved that win on
the day.”
College scored two tries to Grey’s one to win a very close fought match 10
4. It was
described at the time as one of the best schoolboy matches ever witnessed. Keith
Oxlee, ex Springbok flyhalf and Maritzburg College Old Boy, wrote in an article about the
match in the local newspaper
“The chances of Pietermaritzburg ever being the venue for
a rugby test match are unlikely, but there is no doubting the atmosphere was there on
Saturday.”
The battle continued in 1986 up in Bloemfontein and this time G
rey returned to their
winning ways and ran out 24
20 winners in another close encounter. The Grey fullback
for that match, Ruan van der Merwe, recalls:
“We remembered the previous year’s loss
and did not want a repeat performance. The first
couple of scrum
s were very even. We struggled up
front in ’85, but could match them in 86. We started
running the ball wide from early on. In the 7
th
minute we turned the ball over after a College
knock and again moved the ball
swiftly down the
line for me to open the sc
oring with the first try.”
Ruan pictured left
,
in full flight for Grey College circa 1986
Ruan continues: ”
Our second try came after some
brilliant interplaying between SA Schools centre
Buks Steenkamp and winger Jaco Swanepoel
(
later to become a Grey
Coach
)
which Buks
rounded off. With both tries not converted we led 8
0. Jeremy Thompson then showed his brilliance by running in from the halfway line to
score for Maritzburg College. They converted and after a penalty for us we led 11
6 at halftime.”
Maritzburg College fought back hard in the second half and pounced on a Grey mistake
to score and close the score to 11
10. Ruan remembers: ”
We were under pressure from them and I misjudged a good up
and
under from their No 10 and as a result
of m
y mistake,
College sco
red a try to take the
lead 16
11. I was determined to rectify that mistake and 3 minutes later, from a scrum in
their own 25m area, we ran a dummy move and I scored under the posts! We regained
the lead 17
16 after the conversion. We
then received a further penalty to put us ahead
20
16. College again pounced on one of our mistakes when a ball popped out from our
scrum in our 25m area and their flanker picked it up and drove over. The conversion was
missed and we were locked at 20 all
with about 10 minutes left. With about 5 minutes
left, I stole a ball in a ruck and we moved it down the line for right winger Jan Venter to
score in the corner. Conversion missed and we hung on for that 24
20 win!”
The 5 SA Schools players fr
om Grey College in 1986 (Jaco Swanepoel, Pieter de Haas,
Chet Maherry,
Andries Truscott and Buks Steenkamp)
Maritzburg College had to wait another 19 years before they could again taste victory
against Grey College. In 2005 they won 15
13 in yet another na
il biter.
The Grey vs College scores over the years:
(Courtesy of Nelio de Sa and Rugby15)
2008
Grey College
72
7
Maritzburg College
2007
Grey College
86
3
Maritzburg College
2006
Grey College
50
3 Maritzburg College
2005
Grey
College
13
15
Maritzburg College
2004
Grey College
32
10
Maritzburg College
2003
Grey College
25
10
Maritzburg College
2002
Grey College
32
17
Maritzburg College
2001
Grey College
17
14
Maritzburg College
2000
Grey C
ollege
22
11
Maritzburg College
1999
Grey College
22
17
Maritzburg College
1998
Grey College
28
23
Maritzburg College
1997
Grey College
28
16
Maritzburg College
1993
Grey College
32
14
Maritzburg College
1992
Grey Co
llege
20
15
Maritzburg College
1987
Grey College
13
12
Maritzburg College
1986
Grey College
24
20
Maritzburg College
1985
Grey College
4
10
Maritzburg College
1940
Grey College
6
0
Maritzburg College
2014 Season:
Grey is currently back on top of the school rankings with only one loss and a draw this
season. Their most recent outing to Port Elizabeth against Grey High brought their only
defeat this season so far. They won tough away games at Affies and Paarl Boys’ t
his
year but
t
he Grey machine is again firing on all cylinders and a combination of a good
solid front row, great loose forwards and speedy and skillful backs makes them a
formidable unit. Their strength is that they can adapt very quickly to game demands
and
switch their game
plan accordingly. This was illustrated well against Affies when the
latt
er began to dominate the tight ph
ases and Grey took the ball wide as quickly as
possible and started playing more with their backs. This resulted in them keeping
the
scoreboard ticking and Affies could just not catch up to them
.
Keep an eye out for Flanker De Wet Bezuidenhout who can steal the milk out of your
coffee, so good is he on a loose ball. Captain and 8
th
man Alex Jonker is a hard
as
nails
player and a very astute leader. Scrumhalf Dian Badenhorst, son of
former
Free
S
tate
winger
Chris Badenhorst, is a livewire No 9 and together with Dwayne Wessels at 10,
they make for a very steady halfback combination.
Maritzburg College is also having a decent season and is hovering around the top 10
position on the rankings. They have a very diminutive but skillful halfback pairing in Mac
van der Linde and Matt Sieber. Van der Linde lost a kidney as an u/14 rugby playe
r in
Grade 8 and did not play for a few years. To be representing his school at 1
st
team level
in 2014 is a huge achievement for the young man. Winger Xolisa Guma is the only
Craven Week player for College, but the way this team performs, you would have
t
hought there should have been a couple more. They have a decent set of forwards that
will be able to match Grey all the way. Home ground advantage should favor the boys
from Bloem, but with the fighting spirit of College, this will perhaps again be a very
close
encounter.
Maritzburg College Profile
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 commissi
oned 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 t
he
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 scho
ol’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 Zu
lus on 22 January
1879, during the
Zulu War
. A memorial in honour of those fallen Old Boys was unveiled
on the battlefield in 1969.

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