All roads lead to Grey College
CRAVEN WEEK SPOTLIGHT: Grey College in Bloemfontein has been a hotbed of South African rugby talent for generations and will, in July 2019, play host to the most prestigious schools rugby week – the Craven Week.
The school’s rugby history can be traced back to 1881 when a version of the game was played against the Anglican school of St Andrew’s. Since then, their impact on the South African rugby landscape as a whole has been nothing short of remarkable.
Boasting a remarkable 46 Springboks, dating back to 1896, Grey College has maintained a high standard in contributing to a hotly contested schools environment where they are consistently among the best performing schools.
Year in and year out, Grey has dominated schools rugby in the Free State. It is far and away the best schools side in the province and the second-best is normally the “Cherries”, Grey’s second XV. Because Grey are often too strong for everybody else in the Free State, their real rivals are outside of the Free State and they have great battles with other top schools in South Africa – Affies in Pretoria, Paul Roos in Stellenbosch, Maritzburg College in Pietermaritzburg and their namesakes Grey High of Port Elizabeth.
One of the great Grey sides was the 1981 team which went unbeaten for 13 matches and scored an average of 58 points per match. Louis Babrow (Springbok of 1937) stated that the greatest schoolboy player he had ever seen was Ruben Kruger, who played for Grey in 1987.
In 1993, five Old Greys played for South Africa – Ruben Kruger, Naka Drotske, Pieter Müller, Heinrich Fuls and Johan Styger. In 2007, there were again five in a team that rocketed South African rugby to glory.
Between 1974 and 2018, Grey has produced 100 SA Schools players, seven of whom have captained the SA Schools from 1981-2017 – Conrad de Beer (1981), Ruben Kruger (1988), Riel de Kock (2002), Divan van Wyk (2003), Pieter Rademan (2009), William Small-Smith (2010) and Rikus Pretorius (2017).