Paarl people love rugby and the schools in Paarl have been playing this game right from their beginnings.
During the month of August, the picturesque Boland town, Paarl, is transformed by colourfully decorated trees in the Main Road and banners of all the colours that represent the schools involved in the Premier Interschools and the Derby.
Thousands of supporters, old boys and girls from around the globe, flock to Paarl to support their teams.
Paarl Boys’ High vs Paarl Gymnasium
The biggest local derby of them all – the Premier Interschools between Gimnasium and Boys’ High – takes place on the first Saturday of the month of August.
The main game takes place at Faure Street Stadium where the “Galpille” and the “Bloedworse” battle it out on the field.
The very first match between Boishaai and Paarl Gym to be officially recognised as an “Interschools” (the name given to the annual match) game took place in 1915 and has taken place every year since. The traditions and hype around this game is rivalled by few rugby games around the world. So intense is the build-up and so great the honour of playing in an Interschools game that the 1stXV are largely kept in isolation from most of the on goings in the weeks leading up to the game so as to keep their minds focused on the game. One of the major traditions is the “Big Brag”, a very important ceremony in which all the members of the 1st XV are capped.
Paarl Boys’ High
Motto: Tandem Fit Arbor Surculus (Eventually the Acorn becomes an Oak)
Nickname: Boishaai (Boys-High
Hoër Jongenskool Paarl (also known as Boishaai, Paarl Boys’, BHS or HJS) is one of the oldest schools in South Africa. Built in 1868 the school’s rich history is filled with tradition and pride. The first building to house the school was a granary on Zeederbergplein, the owner of which was Mr. D. Beyers (a close friend to the first headmaster, Rev. Jeffreys). The first years of the school were unstable ones, with the school increasing in size every year, larger facilities were required frequently. The grounds on which the school stands today were originally formed part of the farm Berlyn owned by Mr. P.J Malherbe.
Paarl Boys’ High has featured in the academic merit list of the Western Cape for ten years running and has been featuring in the top ten for the duration as well, making it one of the top academic schools in the province. The school is bilingual, with classes in English and Afrikaans and has maintained a 100% pass rate for over a decade.
Boishaai can be seen primarily, as a boarding institution. The erection of the first hostel, Monte Bello, in 1901 can be seen as the one of the greatest turning points in the history of the school. This event inaugurated the change from a small school in a small farming community to a school to be esteemed nationally. In 2012 the four hostels, Bellevue, Imhoff, Monte Bello and Werda, house over 400 learners from all parts of South Africa and from abroad.
Good conduct, good scholarship and good sportsmanship reflect the school’s proud tradition which spans over 143 years. Throughout Southern Africa, Paarl Boys’ High has always been regarded as a school with an unblemished record when it comes to producing men as well as leaders who have excelled in all walks of life. As a centre of excellence it is the school’s mission to create an environment in which every boy can reach his full potential in the academic, cultural and sporting field
Rugby has been played at Boishaai since the late 1800’s, making them one of the oldest school’s to continually play the game. Initially opposition was hard to come by since the transport links to nearby Cape Town were undeveloped and games against the Big Four Cape Town schools (the only rugby playing Cape Town schools to be established at the time) were unable to take place. Rather irregular games against the school now known as Paul Roos Gymnasium took place, a fixture which is still played out to this day. Since its inception, rugby has been an integral part of the Boishaai history. The list of Springboks and players who have played at Provincial level is monumental and Boishaai have one of the most impressive histories of top class rugby talent in the country, most probably rivalled only by the Diocesan College (Bishops), Paul Roos, rivals Paarl Gym and Grey College. Among the best was a man dubbed the “Prince of Wings”, Carel du Plessis as well as the genius Mannetjies Roux
Boy de Villiers, Hudie Hahn, Louis Louw, Theuns Kruger, Johnny Bester, Champion Myburgh, Boy Louw and his brother Fanie, Manie Geere, Ben du Toit, Ryk van Schoor, Theuns Briers, Piet du Toit, Mannetjies Roux, Haas Schoeman, Carel du Plessis, Wium Basson, Corné Krige, Gurthro Steenkamp
Motto: Sol Iustitiae Illustra nios (Sun of justice, enlighten us)
The junior part of Gimmies was established in 1858, long before the High School. It was established by Rev. Van Lingen as a Dutch Christian school for boys in the centre of the town. The school was later moved to the present location north of the town, on a hill surrounded by serene vineyards and the imposing world famous Paarl Rock. Its distinctive green, maroon and gold colours were chosen in 1903, and have remained since, being as much part of the heritage of the school as the students who have trodden on its hallowed grounds.
Paarl was at the centre of the movement for Afrikaans to be recognised as an official language and Paarl Gym was instrumental in the movement, culminating with the school officially changing its medium of instruction to Afrikaans in the mid-1930’s, and to this day it remains an Afrikaans medium school.
The separation of the High and Junior schools took place in 1964. It is also the year that the very first girls were admitted to the school.
The history of rugby at Gimmies is tinted with the legendary green and gold of the Springboks and rugby at the school had its roots in the late 1800’s. In 1895 the pupils implored the headmaster for a rugby club to be founded at the school. The initial response was in the negative and the request was dismissed by saying that if the boys wanted exercise they should work in the garden. One can’t help but imagine if the decision was not changed, what a tragedy it would have been to lose what is today one of South Africa’s greatest rugby institutions to the annals of history.
Nevertheless, organised sport, and more specifically rugby begun at the school in 1902. In the early years, as the teams were essentially a rugby club and no strict age-groups were defined, the staff frequently turned out in the colours of the school. One peculiar feat, as a result of this technicality, was the then headmaster FC Wahl captained the school’s 1st XV, an odd record not matched by many schools around!
The early signs that this school was destined for greater things on the rugby field was when Gimmies managed to beat the rest of Paarl in a scheduled match, a resounding and rather ominous danger for schools who were to face Gimmies in later years as Paarl RFC were considered to have some of the best club rugby players in the country in those years. Gimmies’ pedigree at provincial level cannot be denied with over a 100 players having represented Western Province. What is even more impressive is the list of Springboks, in spite of the moderate numbers at hand. The school manages to put 20 teams on a rugby field week in and week out. Not only are these teams competitive, they are usually some of the best in the province and the country, an incredible achievement for only 500 boys.
Boy de Villiers, Steve Joubert, Pietie le Roux, Japie le Roux, Gerald Thompson, Attie van Heerden, JC van der Westhuizen, Pierre de Villiers, Manus de Jongh, PK Morkel, Jan Pickard, Hugo van Zyl, Wynand Mans, Schalk Burger Snr., Kobus Burger, Kobus Wiese, Balie Swart, Mornay Visser, Pieter and Chris Rossouw, De Wet Barry, Marius Joubert, Jean de Villiers, Schalk Burger Jnr.
Klein Nederburg vs New Orleans
New Orleans and Klein Nederburg first met at First XV level in 1984 on the Daljosaphat field. From 1987 the Derby between these two schools grew and it is one of Paarl’s main sporting events. First National Bank first sponsored the event in 2002. Since 1984 Klein Nederburg have won twice – in 1997 and 2002. On the other 16 occasions New Orleans were the winners.
On the second Saturday of August these two schools continue the proud tradition that has grown to become a big event in the local community. The festivities includes parades, champagne girls and pre-game events and shows. It is a spectacular extravaganza that young and old looks forward to every year.
The annual Derby against Klein Nederburg has now shifted to the Central Sports Grounds at Faure Street and it has become such a major event in town’s dairy with national television coverage of the main rugby match for the first time in 2000.
New Orleans Senior Secondary School
Foundation date: 1984
Motto: Studium et labor (Study and work)
New Orleans Senior Secondary School’s name has a French heritage going back to the 17th century.
New Orleans is a suburb of Paarl towards the east, towards the industrial area. New Orleans Senior Secondary School was founded in 1984, a big co-ed school with more than 150 pupils and 60 staff. The school has excelled at several sports, including rugby.
The school has played rugby from its foundation. It has close rivals in Paarl – Paulus Joubert, Charleston Hill, Noorder-Paarl and, above all, Klein Nederburg.
Since 1984 Klein Nederburg have won twice – in 1997 and 2002. On the other 16 occasions New Orleans were the winners.
Two outstanding products of New Orleans are Danwell Demas, the speedy Springbok Sevens player who plays for the Pumas, and tall flank Hilton Lobberts who played for the SA Academy side in 2003 and then in 2004 for SA Under 19 at the World Championships and for SA Schools.
Klein Nederburg Secondary School
Foundation date: 1977
Motto: Ex educatione fructus (Education bears fruit)
The famous wine estate Nederburg is on the northern side of Paarl, between Paarl Mountain and the Hawequa Mountains. Nederburg was named after the Dutch East India Company commissioner, Sebastiaan, Cornelis Nederburgh.
For many years it was believed that Nederburg had been personally granted to its first owner on 01 November 1792 by the visiting Dutch East India Company commissioner, Sebastiaan Cornelis Nederburgh, and was consequently named in his honour.
This makes a good story, but research has proved unequivocally that the date is incorrect and that
The story of the favour to Philippus Bernardus Wolvaart is, alas, no more than a myth.
The original title deed granting ownership of the farm Nederburg to Philippus Bernardus Wolvaart. It is clearly dated 1 November 1791 and bears the signature of Acting Governor of the Cape Johannes Isaac Rhehnius.
The farm could have had a different name – and then so would the school.
The school was founded in 1977 with Mr E Sampson as its first head and from the start developed a strong culture of learning, producing exceptional matric results and qualification for tertiary education.
Like all Paarl Schools rugby is important. The school plays in the Boland league.
In 2004 flyhalf Burton Francis and the eighthman Redowhan Anderson played for the Boland Academy side.
Rivals include the Paarl Schools – Paul Joubert, Charleston Hill, Noorder-Paarl and, above all, New Orleans.
The schools most famous rugby Old Boy by far is the great Springbok Chester Williams who played in 27 Tests and 47 matches overall for South Africa, scoring 14 Test tries including four against Western Samoa, which was a record at the time. He played for the Springboks from 1993 to 2000, including the Wold Cup Final of 1995. He then turned his hand to coaching, coaching the Springbok Sevens team and the Cats in the Super 12.
The school holds an annual Chester Williams Sevens Rugby Day.
Other well-known players include Eugene Francis, the Springbok Sevens player, and Jearus Nicolas.