2017 School of the Year - Stellenberg Hoërskool
Criteria - We are looking for the school who works extremely hard to promote and develop their rugby and becoming competitive. The effort should weigh more than the achieved results as long as progress is visible.
Stellenberg rugby was not achieving the results all involved wanted and about 8 years ago a plan was formulated to address this issue. Stellenberg is a community-based school with no hostel where players from outside our feeding area can be accommodated.
In order to keep the youngster from our area from heading off to other schools, we had to play better opposition, participate in the best festivals and tournaments, upgrade our facility’s and get the best coaching possible.
2017 was a year in which a lot of hard work over the last few years culminated into a great season. We have 15 teams playing in the league weekly. The history books will show our 1st team played 20, won 15 drew 1 and lost 4 and our u/16 team's only loss this year was against a very good Drostdy team
Our junior teams played in various festivals in the April holidays and made us proud with good results and a brand of rugby we are proud of. Stellenberg is also one of a few schools that take their B teams to festivals during the holidays thus giving more boys the opportunity to partake in a tournament. Stellenberg made many friends with the style of rugby we played and the manner in which our boys conduct themselves on and more importantly of the field.
South African College High School (SACS)
Our mission is to create a successful rugby brand built on hard work, commitment, pride, loyalty, “never say die” attitude, enjoyment and freedom of expression.
Our vision for SACS is to become a school of rugby excellence where all our young players are provided with an environment to grow, learn, improve, express and enjoy themselves. We want the boys to realize their dream of becoming 1st XV rugby players in a successful SACS 1st XV. SACS enters 20 teams into the Premier League and we have 50 coaches allocated to coaching these teams, excluding the mental coaches.
As a school, we compete against some of the very best rugby schools in the country with annual fixtures against Paul Roos, Paarl Gimnasium, Paarl Boys High, Boland Landbou and then Bishops, Rondebosch and Wynberg (both home and away). We also tour locally and/or internationally every year and play in the famous bi annual Cape Schools Week.
SACS rugby is currently on a high thanks largely to the outstanding structures that have been put in place since the beginning of 2011. Our 1stXV competes each year in Easter Festivals and our U14, U15 and U16 compete in the very tough Paarl Easter Festivals.
The Helpmekaar chain never breaks
Helpmekaar consistently appears in the top 20 rankings for the season, one website rating them as the fourth best rugby school. They became the first private school to attend the Wildeklawer festival in Kimberley, winning 6 out of 8, their under-15A team recording an emphatic win over Grey College Bloemfontein. As a consequence, they have been invited back to the festival next year. As a consequence, they have been invited back to the festival next year.
They had four teams in the Virseker finals this year, with the under-15 team and the First XV both victorious. The First XV won the trophy three years in a row. Their current matrics won it every year from grade 8 to matric, a royal flush for those in the know. 22 Helpies and 3 coaches represented the Golden Lions in the age group level youth teams this year. Their captain represented SA Schools. Clearly, a giant has awakened.
Paarl Boishaai 1stXV
The nomination for Rugby School of the Year is to reward the schools in South Africa who’s efforts to improve their rugby is exceeding what parents and supporters normally expect from schools. Taken this into account we expect to see schools on the nominations list who is performing better than the norm, improving to such an extent that they move up in the rankings and compete against “better” opposition than in previous years.
Why then an already top school in the list of nominations? Boishaai was the number 1 ranked 1stXV in the past 3 years going unbeaten for a very long time challenging records set by Grey College in this regard. Boishaai has 29 teams competing through the age groups and often travel with all of these teams to schools big enough like Grey College. Imagine the work that needs to be done at Boishaai year after year to keep on improving on their performance in prior years. The pack is chasing.
Imagine the amount of work that needs to be done at Boishaai year after year to keep on improving on their performance in prior years. The pack is chasing and they want to achieve only one thing, to conquer and overtake.
Whereas we agree with the legendary Vince Lombardi when he said: “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing’’, we hold winning to be more than just points on the board. Winning relates to the values, commitment and the pursuit of developing the abilities of players as far as possible.
Monnas had me gobsmacked, expecting a below par team with a below-par season! I am still taking my foot out of my mouth. Hear this; played 24, won 22, ending the season at 100.25 points on the ruggas.co.za rankings at #3! Top 3! You better believe it.
In the process their new coach par excellance, Tjaart van der Walt, bagged his 3rd consecutive Beeld (Virseker) Trophy for Macro schools asMonnas beat Nelspruit convincingly in the final, breaking their 7-year drought in the competition. In addition to this, they won the TUKS final against EG Jansen, were unbeaten at the Kearsney Easter Rugby Festival and won the U17 Noordvaal 7’s.
Monnas produced a number of Golden Lions Craven Week and Academy Week players, as well as two SA Schools players in lock Cristen van Niekerk and hooker Morne Brandon. Great season! Monnas has proven themselves to the bulk supplier to the Lions Youth Week teams and their junior teams always feature in finals for example at the Tuks Finals they had 4 teams in the finals with the 1stXV being crowned as champions. The u/14's was beaten 5-10 by Menlopark the u/15's lost by 14-35 to Transvalia and their u/16's lost to Menlopark 20-25. Not your average school.
Durban High School
The Durban High School Rugby Programme has taken some giant steps of late as the School seeks to close the gap between them and their competitors. DHS has been able to introduce a fully integrated high-performance conditioning system. This programme monitors each boy’s conditioning progress as he tracks through his years at DHS. Everything is measurable, from his strength to his fitness.
“As a coach, it’s crucial to run an effective and measurable rugby programme. It is my job to develop these boys on the rugby field; this programme helps me to do just that. I can see on each player’s profile, how hard he is training and how much he is improving each week. Everything is measured.” “Straight away I can see if someone is slacking and you can’t have that if you want to maximise your potential. These intensity levels are logged into the boys’ conditioning profiles and start to form a progress chart as we track the boys’ development, constantly seeking improvement.” Scott Mathie
“We never going to be the biggest team but we can be faster and stronger than other teams so we’ll aim for that. The programme is a leap in the right direction and we are already starting to see huge improvements
Belvedere High School (LSEN)
Belvedere is a LSEN school or a school for Learners with Special Educational Needs situated on the East Rand of Gauteng with a feeder area which include Vosloorus, Reigerpark, Boksburg, Benoni, Brakpan, Daveyton & Kwa Thema. At Belvedere they have an intensive rugby development program in place as when the children arrive at the school aged 13 most of them never touched a rugby bal.
Belvedere started to dominate the LSEN Rugby scene since 2008 and started to look at the “normal” schools for proper competition. Belvedere formally joined the mainstream school competitions in 2012 as in the Small Schools League. In 2012 they were beaten by Koster in the final of the Valke region just to return in 2013 to win the Valke region. They lost in the then Beeld Trophy against Komatipoort in the quarter finals. 2014 saw Belvedere promoted to the Middle Schools league where they lost in the Valke final just to fight their way back to the finals in the Beeld Trophy where they lost against Alberton High.
2015 and 2016 saw Belvedere just losing in cup finals. In 2017 Belvedere’s u/15, u/16 and 1stXV won the Valke finals with their 1stXV making history beating Allen Glen 22-15 in the now VirSeker competition. Belvedere investing in their children proving that LSEN schools can compete in a “normal” world AND WIN.
A few years ago the then headmaster Gavin Thomson expressed the need for a more professional sports approach and in came old boy Macloed-Henderson to take up the coaching reigns and help change the school's rugby fortunes. He was in charge for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. There were many positives attached to Macleod-Henderson’s short stint as a well-paid high school coach including the much sort after ‘double’ win against Michaelhouse in 2013.
After several staff changes things went even further downhill as Hilton pulled the plug when they decided to discontinue all rugby fixtures against Glenwood with the simple reason given that “Glenwood’s fairly recent strategy has now moved them into a different league”
At the end of 2016 Hilton went on a drive to again better their rugby to such an extent that schools started complaining that Hilton is “poaching” talented boys in order to improve their teams.Currently, Greg Miller is their Director of Rugby with Brad MacLeod-Henderson back as 1stXV coach saw 2017 an improved Hilton 1stXV losing only 3 of 14 matches played. Maybe not no1 yet but with 20 teams from U14, U15, U16, U18 age groups playing every Saturday the rebirth of a powerhouse is in progress.
In 2010 Garsfontein was hammered by both Waterkloof and Menlopark in rugby. After those results, everything changed. Garsfontein lost learners to the other schools – normal learners, not just sports star. The school’s very existence in current form came under threat as they lost numbers.
After an extensive recruiting drive, for which Garsfontein was heavily criticised, the results started coming in. In 2013 Garsfontein's u/16A was crowned as the Beeld Macro School champions. In 2015 and 2016 Garsfonteins 1stXV was crown Beeld Macro Schools champions.
Garsfontein was invited to the Wildeklawer Tournament in 2016 and 2017 which must have confirmed their arrival as one of the big guns in schoolboy rugby but unfortunately, they were not invited to the 2018 festival to the amazement of every schoolboy rugby expert as it expected that Garsfontein will again feature in the top 10 rankings.
But the value they added to the lives of the boys who joined the school on a rugby bursary is the one thing that we seldom measure their success as a school in. Several “Bursary” boys are starring in competitions across the country, living a life they only dreamed of before, accomplishing the impossible.
Menlopark Hoërskool has been trying to become a top rugby school for quite a few years with some limited success. Always dominating in the underage groups but unfortunately not succeeding when it really matters, at 1stXV level. Also criticized a lot of “poaching” players from near and far in order to beef up their 1stXV, without success.
Since 2016 Menlopark changed their strategy and started to invest in their local boys investing in coaching staff and facilities. 2017 saw this program paying dividends already with their u/14A and u/16A teams winning the finals of the VirSeker Cup for Macro Schools as well as the Tuks Series. Their u/14A team won against Zwartkop with 49-0 and the u/16A won against EG Jansen with 65-13 in the VirSeker Competition. The finals in the Tuks Series was against Monnas in Both age groups the u/16’s winning 28-20 and the u/14’s 10-5.
Menlopark is expected to be one of the performing schools at the 1stXV level as is seen in their invite to play at the Wildeklawer in 2018, hard work already was done to guarantee a great 2018.