Union High School

Rugby

Union High School has made a significant contribution to rugby in the Eastern Cape. This is especially so as far as sportmanship and instilling the correct spirit of the game is concerned. We are proud of our Rugby traditions, and the boys who have graced our fields, setting the standard throughout the many years. We guard these traditions with much passion.

It's not so difficult to produce a good rugby player in, say a decade, but to produce good rugby players over a long period of time is a different matter. Yet Union High has done that. So said Danie Craven, long-time president of the South African Rugby Board. And Union High continues to do that, its rugby pedigree going back many decades. 

The tradition of excellence continues in the 21st century, with individual players and teams notching up impressive performances. Each year a number of boys are selected for various representative school boy sides. These boys have then moved on to attend Rugby Academies at the various rugby unions.

Although much has changed in South Africa the success of a rugby season is still judged by the number of matches won or lost and we are proud to have produced teams who have not only an excellent season but also more than held their own against some of their traditional rivals such as Graeme College, Muir College, St Andrew's College, St Andrew's College, Kingswood College, King Edward VII School as well as Hoër Volkskool.


Rugby - Results 2018

Date Match
14 April RUGBY VS MUIR COLLEGE (AWAY - UITENHAGE)
1st XV:  36 - 15
We travelled to Uitenhage on Saturday to face our oldest rivals Muir College. In what is always a challenging encounter, we emerged as 21-point victors. The first half was a ding-dong battle and the lead changed several times throughout. On the stroke of half-time, we scored what will undoubtedly be a contender for try of the season. The move started with a counter-attack from deep inside our territory and saw us keeping the ball alive through brilliant support and clever interplay between backs and forwards. This meant we went into the break 26-15 ahead. We utilised a favourable wind in the second half and scored a further ten unanswered points to win the match 36-15.

Our tries were scored by Cowan Swartz, Breyton Damons, Jason Beaumont and Matt Harpur (2). Matt also kicked four conversions and a penalty, ending on a total of 21 points in the match.

Backline player of the match was awarded to Cowan Swartz who was exceptional on counter-attack and created opportunities each time he joined the line from fullback.  Forward of the match went to the hard-working Iviwe Ndamane. He was outstanding on defence and played a crucial, yet unnoticed, role on attack.

To beat Muir on their field is always a pleasing result and credit should go to the team for fighting through the difficult stages where things didn’t go to plan. We showed maturity and a desire to win which are huge positives. The team want to express their thanks to the rest of the rugby sides for the phenomenal support. If the cheering was a battle, we would have won that too.

Other results:
U/11A:  10 - 21
U/13 A:  7 - 52
U/14A:  10 - 22
U/15B:  25 - 19
U/15A:  6 - 50
U/16A:  56 - 17
3rds:  41 - 10
2nds:  26 - 26
29 - 31 March CALTEX / COLLEGE MOTORS Snr Rugby & Hockey Festival
1st VX vs Hoërskool Charlie Hofmeyr:  14 - 12
1st XV vs Hoërskool Grens:  25 - 8
In their first fixture on Thursday, Union played against Hoërskool Charlie Hofmeyer. In what was more mud wrestling than rugby, the Union boys managed to grind out a two-point victory. The game hung in the balance for the full 70 minutes with neither team giving an inch. The heavy rain resulted in it being a hard fought battle of attrition, where field position and minimising errors were the order of the day. Union scored two tries through Luthando Skapu and Iviwe Ndamane, both players showing exceptional skill to cross the whitewash. Matt Harpur converted both tries, which proved to be the difference at the final whistle. It was a satisfying 14-12 win for Union against a side that had convincingly beaten them the year before.

In the final match of the festival on Saturday, the Union boys took on Hoërskool Grens from East London. Fortunately, the weather was conducive to running rugby and Union was able to play a more expansive pattern which was pleasing to the spectators. Union were again forced to work extremely hard against quality opposition. Both teams scored an unconverted try in the first half and kicked a penalty goal to make it 8-8 at the half-time break. The Union team started the second half brilliantly, spreading the ball from point to point, forcing their opponents to make numerous tackles and cover loads of ground on defence. Union executed the plan to perfection and eventually ran in a further two tries as the Grens defenders seemed to tire somewhat. The boys were solid on defence and capitalised on their opportunities on attack to win the game 25-8. Union’s tries were scored by Cowan Swartz, Ikhona Koeberg and Luke McNaughton. Matt Harpur converted two tries and two penalties.
24 March GRAEME COLLEGE RUGBY DAY (Grahamstown)
UHS 1st XV vs Cambridge:  17 - 14
Cambridge scored an early try against the run of play after a poor kick chase from us. We were able to hit back right away with a try of our own by Matteo Mahona. He scored after a superbly executed set piece move by the backline which saw Breyton Damons cutting the opposition defence like a hot blade through butter. Breyton ran fifty meters before being dragged down one meter short and popping the ball to Matteo who ran the perfect support line like all open side flanks should. Soon after this try, we again pulled off a set piece move to allow Breyton to walk over untouched in the corner. Matt Harpur converted both tries and a penalty to give us a 17-7 lead at the break.
Cambridge did all the attacking in the second half as we struggled to hold onto possession. We needed to show huge character on defence. Some gutsy tackling and an immense work rate allowed us to withstand wave after wave of Cambridge offense. They did eventually cross over for a converted try but it was too little too late, with us emerging 17-14 victors.
Forward of the match goes to Matthew Broeksma who again led from the front. His effort from the base of the scrum was extraordinary and as always had a massive presence on defence.  Backline player of the match goes to Ronan Retief, who was colossal in stopping opposition momentum. He made arguably the biggest hit of the day and a few more which had the crowd clenching their teeth at the impact.
17 March Rugby vs St Andrews (Bloemfontein)
1st XI
The 1st XV had a very disappointing outing to Bloemfontein over the weekend. After a good start, the Union boys took and early 7 – 3 lead, when Breyton Damons crossed over for a concerted try in the 10th minute. Matt Harpur scored midway through the second half, and Union found themselves 12 – 9 ahead, with 15 minutes to play. Despite scoring two tries to St Andrews’ one, penalties proved to be the difference, and St Andrews eventually won the match 19 – 12.  It was a bitter pill to swallow, but the Union boys have learnt valuable lessons, which will no doubt drive them to improve and get back to winning ways.
Other Results:
2nd Team:  36 - 7
U/14:  17 - 10
U/15:  12 - 27
U/16:  19 -12
10 March 1st XV (Gill Sports Day):  Union's 1st XV kicked off their season with a beautiful display of rugby, winning their match against Andrew Rabie 34 - 3.
U/16 team  (Gill Sports Day)won 41 -21 against Aeroville Sekondêr.
U/14A (Grens Rugby Festival)
-  vs Stirling:  27 – 47
-  vs Port Rex:  43 – 15
U/13A Grens Rugby Festival)
-  vs Nahoon:  17 - 0
-  vs Lilyfontein:  0 - 5