Wed 8 Jun 2005 | 12:00


Wed 8 Jun 2005 | 12:00

School Profile

In 2005 St Andrew’s College in Grahamstown celebrated its 150th birthday, one of the oldest schools in South Africa and a school of great significance.

Like many private schools it was a church foundation. The second Anglican diocese in South Africa was founded in Grahamstown, its first bishop John Armstrong consecrated on St Andrew’s Day 1853. It was Bishop Armstrong who pushed for the foundation of an Anglican school in the Settler city and there is to this day an Armstrong House at St Andrew’s whose first nine headmasters were clergymen.

Grahamstown was founded in its basin by Colonel John Graham, son of the Scottish poet Robert Burns’s patron Graham of Fintry. It was a settler for many Settlers who started coming to the Eastern Cape in 1820. It was also a focal point in numerous Border Wars as the Xhosa resisted the invasion of their land.

St Andrew’s grew as a school, mainly boarders and eventually offered post-school classes out of which Rhodes University grew in 1904. It is small in numbers. From the 60 boys in 1855 there are now about 400 at College, reaching just over 500 on occasion in the Sixties and Seventies.

St Andrew’s elects a Rhodes Scholar each year, as do SACS, Bishops and Paul Roos. The first five St Andrew’s Rhodes Scholars played in the same varsity Match in 1907 when Oxford beat Cambridge.

School information

Name: St Andrew’s College
Founded: 1855
Motto: Nec aspera terrent – Hardship is not frightening
Number of Boys: 400
Number of Rugby Teams: 15

Rugby at St Andrew’s

St Andrew’s may well have a claim to be the first school to play Rugby Football in South Africa, starting in 1878 at a time when a form of Winchester Football was played at places like Bishops and SACS.

That was a contribution to rugby in South Africa as well as the many great teams and Old Boys from St Andrew’s.  Then too it had an institute for Xhosa speakers attached to St Andrew’s, started in 1859, and there the Rev. Robert John Mullins first aroused Xhosa interest in the game in South Africa.

Coaches include Dup Murrel, Eric Norton, a Junior Springbok rugby captain, Springbok cricketer and later headmaster of St Andrew’s and Axel Ohlson – a trio who coached the 1st XV for 57 years. Danie Craven also coached at St Andrew’s. He was on the staff before World Wear II and was teaching at St Andrew’s – “our College” as he called it  – when chosen for the 1937 Springbok tour to Australasia. Craven began his coaching at St Andrew’s and got his ideas for the koshuis system at Bishops from the house system at St Andrew’s.

The main rugby field is called Lower Field, just down the hill from Upper House and next to the Old Andrean Club.


St Andrew’s has been playing Bishops since 1896 and the match remains a big one for both schools. In the Eastern Cape it has ancient rivalries with Grey, Dale, Queen’s and, across Grahamstown, Kingswood.

Old Boy Internationals

For South Africa:

Harry Boyes (1891), who became the first secretary of the South African Rugby Board and was killed in an accident at the Kimberley Exhibition in 1892, the first South African rugby international to die.
Jackie Powell (1891-1903)
Sonny Taberer (1896)
Clem Currie (1903)
Tommy Hobson (1903)
Fanie Cronje (1912)
Jack Dold (1931-32)
Daantjie van de Vyver (1937)
Nick Mallett (1984)
Russell Bennett (1996-97)
Ryan Kankowski (2007- )

For the Lions:

Cuth Mullins (1896)
Brian Black (1930)

For England:

Rupert Williamson (1908-09)
Brian Black (1930-33)
John Keeling (1948) 

PV: 101

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