Tradition | Excellence | Opportunity
Founded in 1856.

The Grey Vision
Grey remains as one of the leading schools in the country, with a culture and value system that support its fine heritage.
Grey is recognised for its competitiveness and excellence in academic, sporting and cultural activities, as well as for its ability to consistently produce leaders.
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Head of Rugby

Mr Robbi Kempson

Master in Charge

Fenner Barnard

Interhouse Rugby

Click on the link below for further information about Interhouse rugby.
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Origins of Rugby at Grey

While some sort of football was played on the rough ground of the Donkin Reserve in front of the Grey Institute after its establishment in 1856, early Rectors Thurlow and Johnson both reportly not caring much for the unscientific and rough games the boys played. The first official rugby match took place on the 16th of September in 1893, against the Muir Academy. Initially rugby was played in black coats and straw hats, and a report in 1895 stated that the greatest problem rugby faced at the Grey was a “the lack of rivalry which would prove strong enough to develop excellence.” By 1897 Grey were entered into the men’s third league, but then went into the doldrums as Association Football or Soccer enjoyed prominence until 1908. Three events occurred which allowed rugby to muscle its way into the psyche of our school – Port Elizabeth hosting the Currie Cup tournament and a test against England, and the arrival of JC Hops, Ht “Boetie” Gamble and NS “Tienie” Krige onto the Grey staff. Things developed quickly from here, and by 1933 Grey had its first Springboks Bunny Reid, Fred Smollan and Fred Turner. Their team manager was Wally Mangennis, an Old Grey who had captained the 1st XV for four seasons! Rugby initially found its home at the Crusader Ground at St George’s Park. This relationship extended after the move to the school’s present site in College Drive – as Rector Way would not have rugby played on the cricket fields! Thankfully rugby has found its home on the Kolisi Field, and long may it remain.

General information

Rugby has come along way since the uncertainty it faced in the late 1890’s, and despite the proud cricketing tradition we enjoy, has become the dominant sport at our proud school. Annually we field 8 open teams, and between 4 or 5 teams in the U14, U15 and U16 teams. New staff and pupils are usually quizzed as to what level of rugby they’ve played and where they have coached before any mention is made of the core business of academics! The winter sporting calendar is eagerly anticipated, and consists of regular “Derby Days” against schools across the Eastern and Western Capes. Ancient Rivals include Selborne College; Queen’s College, Dale College and St Andrew’s College, while newer rivals include our brother school Grey College from Bloemfontein and the 51 Springbok strong Paul Roos Gymansium (who we have beaten 3 years in a row!) Wynberg Boys High; Graeme College; Hoerskool Framesby and HTS Daniel Pienaar round off our list of annual rivals. Our annual rugby festival attracts some of the top talent in South Africa, and we have competed in the annual Wildeklawer Festival for the Top 20 ranked schools in South Africa. While rankings are always contentious, they are viewed as a barometer of our level of rugby excellence and willingness to take on the best in the nation. In 2018 Grey High produced over 30 representatives in Eastern Province youth teams, including the U18 Craven Week and Academy teams, Grant Khomo U16 team, EP U17 7’s team and Eastern Province Kings U19 team.

Rugby Traditions

  • Only the first XV wear numbers on their Azure jerseys and white change strip.
  • 1st XV players are “capped” on the occasion of their first start for the first XV. This tradition was reintroduced in 2011 after an absence of more than 50 years. Each cap is individually numbered and kept by the player – no doubt a keepsake in the making!
  • The first XV walks over the 1st XV steps to alert the supporter’s stand of their impending entrance to the Kolisi Field. These steps are cordoned off, and only opened just before kick off on a Saturday. You earn the right to use them!
  • The same 1st XV mascot has been in use since the mid 1970’s.

List of Springboks

Jack Hirsch
Fred Smollan
Freddie Turner
George Smith
Bunny Reid
Roy Dryburgh
Iain Kirkpatrick * (matriculated at Kimberley Boys High)
Wilf Rosenberg
Peter Allen
Mickey Gerber
Shaun Povey
Luke Watson
JJ Engelbrecht
Siya Kolisi – Captain
Jan Serfontein * (matriculated at Grey College)
Curwin Bosch

List of Blitzbokke

Luke Watson
Mpho Mbiyozo
Steven Hunt

Siyamthanda Kolisi

The Springboks’ victory over England in the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup has been met with universal acclaim and celebration.

Siya Kolisi (capt.) of South Africa during the Rugby World Cup Final match between South Africa Springboks and England Rugby World Cup Final at the International Stadium Yokohama Japan.Saturday 02 November 2019. (Mandatory Byline – Fotosport/David Gibson) Photo Copyright protected: Steve Haag

Siya’s pathway to glory has been one that many in the Grey community have followed with great interest, since his days as a school boy at Grey Junior, which began in his grade 6 year. While there is an element of serendipity to his rise, Siya’s talent and his juggernaut-like dominance as a school boy during his time at Grey Junior and Grey High, left few in the know any doubt that the proverbial cream would rise to the top.

Siya progressed through the provincial ranks as an U13, an U16, where Eastern Province were unbeaten at the Grant Khomo Week, and culminated in two years at the U18 Craven Week. Siya was selected to the SA Schools team in both his grade 11 and grade 12 years, and was also selected to a national 7’s team in his grade 12 year. Paul Treu, then coach of the Blitzbokke, described Siya as one of the most naturally talented rugby players he had ever seen.

Under the watchful eye of then Stormer’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, Siya flourished through the junior ranks at his chosen province, making his debut for Western Province in the Vodacom Cup as a 20 year old, and his Super Rugby debut a year later. His national representation did not stop at SA Schools, as he represented the SA U20 team in both 2010 and 2011 at the Junior World Championships.

On the 15th of June 2013, Siya made his debut for the Springboks against Scotland from the bench to rapturous applause from the crowd in Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium. He went on to make history that night, as he became the first player in test history to be made Man of the Match as a substitute.

Heyneke Meyer, then national coach, failed to give Siya a chance to make the number 6 jersey his own, as a number of pretenders were deployed ahead of him over the next few seasons. Siya travelled to the World Cup in England in 2015, making appearances in two of South Africa’s matches during their unsuccessful campaign, as the Springboks ended the World Cup third overall.

Fast forward three years, and Siya was announced as Springbok captain by the new South African coach, Rassie Erasmus, when the Springboks hosted England in a three-match series in 2018. His leadership galvanized a new look Springbok team, which had struggled under the tutelage of Allister Coetzee. The Springboks won the three-match series, and while the team endured an indifferent Rugby Championship that year, they managed to beat New Zealand in Wellington, foreshadowing a new dawn for our national squad.

The 2019 World Cup in Japan was to be our captain’s finest hour, as Siya led his charges to win their third World Cup after annihilating England by 32 points to 12 in the final in Yokohama.

Siya’s growth from his humble origins in Zwide, before establishing himself at Grey High School, has been inspirational to many in our school community. He has transcended his position as the captain of the World Cup-winning Springboks to embody what is possible when African children are afforded opportunities to shine, despite the desperate challenges many in our land face. Siya enters a new phase in his career, and we will watch his growth as a leader with pride.

We, as Grey High School, are tremendously proud of an Old Grey who has reached the pinnacle of his sport. More so, we are humbled to have played a small part in shaping and guiding a young man to be the best he could possibly be, as a human being, a father, and a South African. We salute you Siya, Tria Juncta in Uno!

Current Old Boys in provincial and super rugby squads

Siya Kolisi

An old boy from the class of 2009 – current captain of the Stormer’s and Springboks has become the poster boy for black rugby players in South Africa. His belligerent style of play and terrific personality has made him a firm favourite among Springbok and Stormers fans alike. Siya made his debut for SA against Scotland in 2014 and was the man of the match – a dream start to his career, which has blossomed – our national captain raising the Webb Ellis Trophy in 2019 before the British and Irish Lions in 2021.

Simon Westraadt

A fiery hooker and another bright light from the class of 2006, a short career with Western Province led Simon to greener pastures in Kimberley, and he has represented Griquas for several years, before moving to Nelspruit and the Pumas, whom he has represented in the Currie Cup.

Kurt Coleman

Part of the hugely successful 2008 1st XV, highly skilled flyhalf Kurt Coleman has been a regular member of both Western Province and the Stormers for several years, before returning to Port Elizabeth to play for the EP Kings in the PRO 14. Kurt currently represents the Rugby ATL in the American Major League Rugby competition.

Sergeal Petersen

A superstar at school, 2012’s Sergeal Petersen began his super rugby career in sensational style, scoring twice in the King’s triumph over the Force in their first match of Super Rugby. Besides representing the Kings, Sergeal was selected for the SA U20 team. He has since moved on to the Stormers and will be going on his second European tour with the Springboks in 2018.

Michael van Vuuren

2009’s Michael van Vuuren represented the Cheetahs and SA U20 at hooker before accepting a contract in Paris with Stade Francais. He has since represented EP and is currently contracted by Ealing Trailfinders in the UK.

Jan Serfontein

Despite not matriculating at Grey PE, Jan Serfontein sees himself as an old boy of both Grey College and Grey High. Supremely talented, Jan made his debut for the Springboks before his 21st birthday.

Michael Willemse

Another young Old Grey who has experienced tremendous success at UCT, 2011’s Michael Willemse was a member of last year’s SA U20 team. Injuries at Super Rugby level saw Michael gain selection for the Streep Truie in the Vodacom and Currie Cups. He is the captain of the Eastern Province Kings in this year’s PRO 14 competition and now plies his trade for London Irish.

Curwin Bosch

After two years in the SA School’s team, Curwin was selected in the SA U20 team in 2016, and was one of three nominees for the player of the tournament award. He then represented the Sharks in both the Currie Cup and Super Rugby. Curwin was the second recipient of the school’s Honours Award for Rugby and played his first test match for the Springboks in 2017.

Jeremy Ward

Jeremy captained the SA U20 team at the Junior World Championships in Manchester in Jeremy joined the Sharks in 2017.

Junior Pokomela

Another shining light of the class of 2014, Junior represented the SA U20’s in Manchester in 2016. He currently represents the Stomers, and much is expected of this rangy loose forward.

Keanu Vers

The 4th of our contingent in the 2016 Baby Bok squad, Keanu’s career has been blighted by injury since. He has represented the EP Kings and Griquas in 2017.

Garrick Mattheus

2014 matriculant, Garrick Mattheus, captain of Eastern Province.

Gerrit Huisamen

Gerrit has played for EP in the Currie Cup in both 2017 and 2018.


Greg Miller

Famed old boy and former Director of Rugby at Grey, 1991’s Greg Miller represented SA School’s at both rugby and cricket, while his record for the annual quad race still stands at the school. Greg represented Eastern Province and Border, and enjoyed stints in Europe as a professional player too. Greg is now part of the Investec International Rugby Academy in Durban, and the Director of Rugby at Hilton College.

Mike Catt

Mike Catt famously represently England at 4 World Cups, including their triumph in 2003. Mike was the England back line coach during their tour of South Africa in 2012, and is currently an assistant coach of the Irish national team.

Rory Duncan

A Currie Cup winning captain during his time at the Free State, Rory Duncan returned to Bloemfontein to coach at the Free State Cheetahs after two successful years as Director of Rugby at Grey High. Rory, from the class of 1995, also enjoyed stints as a player in Scotland and Japan. After a stint as head coach of the Worchester Warriors in the English Premiership, he is now assistant coach of Ntt Docomo Red Hurricanes in Japan.

Alan Solomons

Instrumental in the resurgence of the EP Kings, Alan Solomons has enjoyed an illustrious coaching career. A springbok assistant coach during Nick Mallett’s unbeaten streak, Alan has been a coach at the Stormers, Ulster in Ireland, the Northampton Saints in England and as a coaching advisor to the IRB. Alan is currently the Director of Rugby at the Worchester Warriors and will retire after an illustrious career in June of 2022.

Rugby Coaching Staff

Head of Rugby & 1st XV Coach – Robbi Kempson

Info to follow shortly

Master-in-Charge of Rugby – Fenner Barnard

Fenner matriculated in 1998 at Muir College. He gained his Higher Diploma in Rugby Theory and Practice at the South African Institute of Rugby in 2001, before studying towards a Degree in Journalism at Rhodes University, where he graduated in 2004. He then spent a stint establishing a rugby club at the University of Western New England in Massachusetts, before returning to South Africa, where he worked as a journalist and assisted with the 1st XV at his Alma Mater, Muir College. He joined the Grey High staff as an English teacher in 2007, and took over the administration of rugby in 2011, a position he held until his departure in 2015. Fenner has returned to the staff at Grey at the beginning of 2016 after a year at St David’s Inanda in Sandton, and again fulfils the role of Master in Charge of Rugby. Fenner enjoyed a successful stint at NMMU as head of U21 rugby, and head coach of the Madibaz U21A’s – who he coached to unbeaten league seasons in the Grand Challenge in both 2011 and 2013. Fenner served as an assistant coach to the NMMU Young Guns in the Varsity Cup in 2012, and as head coach of the NMMU 7’s team in the Varsity Sports 7’s that year. He has completed various coaching levels, including a SARU Level 3, USA Level 2, IRB Level 1 and an Investec Rugby Academy Advanced Coaches Certificate.

Rugby is proudly sponsored by:

Click on the logo to go directly through to the companies who support Grey. On contact please mention you were referred from Grey High School.