Thu 9 Sep 2004 | 12:00


Thu 9 Sep 2004 | 12:00

School profile

We profile Bryanston High School in the posh northern suburb of Johannesburg, a school keen on its rugby.

Ancient man, at the dawn of humanity, grunted around Bryanston. Tribes wandered there with warlike intent. Voortrekkers settled there. It is an area inhabited for a long time, but as Bryanston it is a young suburb. But then Johannesburg is a young town.

Gold kick started Johannesburg at a great rate. In 1885 it did not exist. In 1886 gold got things going. In 1894 it was the biggest African city south of the Sahara. Now it is the biggest city in the world not built on lake, river or sea.

Bryanston is a wealthy, leafy suburb in the north of Johannesburg, a place of trees and mansions. It joined with Sandown to form the municipality of Sandton – a portmanteau  name – in 1969. The municpality no longer exists, incorporated into the City of Johannesburg as it is.


Bryanston High School opened its doors for the first time in January 1968, to a modest three hundred enrolled scholars. The headmaster, Joel Alswang, and his compliment of nine staff members then had the responsibility to establish a reputable co-educational high school in the Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg.

1971 saw the school reach an impressive enrollment of 1000 scholars, considering the fact that it was only the third year of the school’s existence. This year was marked not only by the completion of the current school tuck shop and school swimming pool, but also by the first year Bryanston High School had matriculants.

Although an Academic institution, sport has always been an integral part of the life at Bryanston High School, with such sporting codes as swimming, hockey, rugby, and athletics being introduced in the first year of the school’s existence. 

By 1970, the school’s enrollment had increased to eight hundred scholars, and the lists of sporting codes widened to include chess, cricket, cross country, gymnastics, netball and tennis.

It was in this year that Bryanston High School also organized its first over seas tour. All the Latin scholars were afforded the opportunity to visit Greece, Italy, Holland, Germany and England.

Rugby was also firmly established in the school with the 1st XV playing 17 games, winning 7, drawing 2 and losing 8.  Not impressive statistics, but considering that two of those games were against traditional rivals St Stithians and St Andrew's, one could conclude that from the early days Bryanston High School was prepared to take on the larger boys', private schools. Although the game against St Stithians may have resulted in a loss, the game against St Andrew's was won.

The rugby teams representing the school tallied eight – two teams per age group.

1971 will be remembered, in rugby terms, as the first year the school, under the captaincy of Collin Pilliner, was able to  defeat St Stithians, 9-8.

In 1972, the Rugby teams representing the school had increase to twelve, including a third and fourth team. The idea was proposed that the first team jersey should be different to the rest of the rugby sides, and hence the introduction of the “whites” was made in 1973.

After the 1973 rugby season, Bryanston High School had firmly established itself as one of the top co-ed schools in Johannesburg. Not a single game was conceded to any other co-ed school, pushing the season’s wins up to 17 games, producing one draw, and 3 loses, which were against boys' schools. Notably, two current parents of the school, played in this side: Angelo Lupini at prop and Eugene Marais, who secured the win for Bryanston High School against a strong Greenside team, by crashing over the line for a last minute try to give Bryanston an 8-6 win. The match of the season, however, was against Hydepark, where Bryanston were rampant over their rivals, winning 16-0, in front of 400 Bryanston spectators. Yet another parent made his mark for the second team that year, Lorenzo Lupini, who would later go on to play for the Whites at eighthman in 1975.

1975 marked the appointment of a new headmaster, J L Vivier. Angelo Lupini not only captained the side but went on to be named player of the year.

By 1979, all the boys' schools in Johannesburg were playing fixtures against Bryanston High School, a trend which has continued to the present day. The intriguing strength in sporting terms, exhibited by such a ‘small’ school has over the years created an enthusiastic atmosphere around the school, so much so, that many past scholars of the school have either returned to teach at the school or have sent their children to the school.

Rugby has gone from strength to strength as the years have passed. 1994 was the first year the ‘Whites’ went unbeaten in a season, including a win over traditional rivals St Stithians. 1998, 1999, 2001 were all great rugby seasons at Bryanston High School, with win ratios of more than 90 percent in each season.

The strong foundations laid by scholars, teachers and Headmasters in the past, have made Bryanston High School one of the pioneers in organizing Over seas tours. Thus far Bryanston High School cricket players, hockey players and rugby players have represented their school and their country on the various sport fields of Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, England, Wales, Scotland and will do so again in Russia.

School information

Name: Bryanston High School
Founded: 1968
Motto: Veritas, fidelitas, justitia (truth faith justice)
Number of pupils: 1041
Number of rugby teams: 12 teams

PV: 109
Bryanston High School | Rugby365