Tradition | Excellence | Opportunity
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.
Head of Rugby
Mr Allan Miles
Master in Charge
Click on the link below for further information about Interhouse rugby.
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 Philip Field, and long may it remain.
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.
Current trends and innovations
Grey High rugby make use of video analysis for all their A division teams. Matches are filmed and analysed using Encodepro, and laptops distributed to coaches for analysis after each fixture. Players are also able to access their individual statistics and clips in a dedicated computer lab with 12 viewing stations. This is a logical next step to keep Grey rugby ahead of the pack.
- 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 Philip 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
Iain Kirkpatrick * (matriculated at Kimberley Boys High)
Jan Serfontein * (matriculated at Grey College)
List of Blitzbokke
Current Old Boys in provincial and super rugby squads
An old boy from the class of 2009 – current Springbok captain Siya Kolisi 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.
2007’s JJ Engelbrecht was in Meriway House and enjoyed his break out season after leaving Western Province for the Bulls, where he was selected for the Springboks. JJ has since enjoyed a stint in Japan, before returning to Cape Town.
Once a controversial figure – Luke returned to PE from Bath in England as part of the resurgence of rugby in our fair city. Luke enjoyed a successful career as part of three Super Rugby franchises: The Sharks, Stomers and Kings, and represented both the Springboks and the Blitzbokke.
A highly skilful centre, 2006’s Tim Whitehead came to prominence as part of the Varsity Cup winning UCT team, which included the likes of Eben Etzebeth, Nizaam Carr and Nic Groom. Tim’s career came to life at the Sharks, and he ended his career at Eastern Province before his retirement two years ago.
From the class of 2006, Steven Hunt represented Western Province on the wing before becoming a prominent member of the Blitzbokke. Steven retired from professional rugby a few years ago.
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.
Instantly recognisable due to his beard, Martin Ferreira has been a key member of the resurgent NMMU Madibaz, and was selected for the SA Universities XV in 2013. He represented the EP Kings and Western Province in recent years.
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.
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 Bath in the English Premiership.
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.
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.
A star of the 2010 and 2011 1st XV’s, Jan has represented the Valke in both the Supersport Championship and the Currie Cup.
CJ burst into Super Rugby prominence in 2016, by bettering more fancied “fetcher” flanks by topping the statistics in the first half of Super Rugby in 2015, before injury cut his season short. If he is able to repeat his heroics for the EP Kings this year higher honours surely await our captain of 2013.
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 captained the SA U20 team at the Junior World Championships in Manchester in Jeremy joined the Sharks in 2017.
Another shining light of the class of 2014, Junior represented the SA U20’s in Manchester in 2016. He currently represents the Cheetahs, and much is expected of this rangy loose forward.
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 in 2017.
2014 matriculant, Garrick Mattheus, represented Eastern Province in 2017, before being contracted by the Blue Bulls in 2018.
Henry Brandon Brown
Another young old Grey from the class of 2013, Brandon has represented the EP Kings in the PRO 14 in 2018.
Gerrit has played for EP in the Currie Cup in both 2017 and 2018.
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 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 coaching in England.
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. He is currently the head coach of the Worchester Warriors in the English Premiership.
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.
Rugby Coaching Staff
Head of Rugby & 1st XV Coach – Allan Miles
Allan was a member of the Selborne College 1st XV squad in 1998 and 1999. He played for the Border U18 Craven Week team in 1999 which was coached by former Grey legend Greg Miller. He has also played 1st XV rugby for St Peter’s school in York, England while on exchange. In his first year out of school he spent time in New Zealand on a rugby exchange at Mahurangi High School in Warkworth. He represented Border at U19 level and later played semi-professionally for the Border Bulldogs in the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup in 2005.
His coaching career began at Selborne where he coached for 10 years and became the Master in Charge of rugby. He was also appointed as the Head Coach of the Border U16 Grant Khomo team before getting an opportunity of a lifetime. He got asked by Jake White and Eddie Jones to join them with the Jake White’s Winning Way consultancy to the Lions Currie cup team of 2009. He fulfilled the role as the Coaching Coordinator and Breakdown Coach of the team. He then went on to the position of Director of Rugby at St Andrew’s College for five years. He also became the Head Coach of the U18 Eastern Province Country Districts Craven Week team. A position he held for two seasons.
Allan is a qualified teacher and has been teaching for 13 years. He has joined us from Graeme College where he took on the role as the Senior Housemaster (Superintendent) of Grant House Hostel to further his teaching career. He has teaching experience in Accounting, Economic and Management Sciences, and Business Studies.
He has played and coached at both Craven Week and Currie Cup levels. He is also a qualified World Rugby level 2 coach. He has attended a number of coaching courses which include the Advanced Coaching Course (New Zealand International Rugby Academy), Advanced Coaching Course (International Rugby Academy of South Africa), Coaching the Coaches Course (Jake White and Eddie Jones), Intermediate Coaching Course (International Rugby Academy of South Africa), Jake White’s Winning Way Level 2 and Jake White’s Winning Way Level 1. He was selected as one of the top 10 Coaches (out of 350) from Jake White’s Winning Way Courses in 2009.
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.