Played 23 | Won 21| Lost 2

Last Played: 2023.04.03 Grey College 37 – 24 Maritzburg College (Noord-Suid Festival)

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 African 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 985
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 other 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 Grey 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 the minute we turned the ball over after a College knock and again moved the ball swiftly down the line for me to open the scoring 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 my mistake, College scored 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 from 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 nail biter.

The Grey vs College scores over the years:

2023.04.03 Grey College 37 – 24 Maritzburg College (Noord-Suid Festival at Affies)
2017 Grey College 30 – 3 Maritzburg College (Away)
2016 Grey College 60 – 13 Maritzburg College
2015 Grey College 36 – 34 Maritzburg College (Away)
2014 Grey College 46 – 20 Maritzburg College
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 College 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 College 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’  this year but the 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 latter began to dominate the tight phases 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 (passed away) who can steal the milk out of your coffee, so good is he on a loose ball. Captain and 8th man Alex Jonker is a hard as-nails player and a very astute leader. Scrumhalf Dian Badenhorst, son of former Free State 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 player in Grade 8 and did not play for a few years. To be representing his school at 1st team level in 2014 is a huge achievement for the young Winger Xolisa Guma is the only Craven Week player for College, but the way this team performs, you would have thought 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 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 Isandlwana, 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.

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