Meet Our Rugby Captain: Mihlali Tyanase

Meet Union High School’s first team rugby captain: Mihlali Tyanase

Position: Eighthman

What makes it special to play for Union High School’s first team? The Union High School white rugby jersey is exceptionally special because when you put it on, you don’t just represent the 2021 1st XVs, but the past, present and future of the school as a whole. Every time I put on my white jersey, I think about who I am doing it for. How will I embody a level of excellence and respect for those who have come before me, and those who will come after? For me, as a boy who grew up in a small village in Keiskammahoek on the outskirts of King William’s Town, it is a privilege to be able to play for the Union High School first rugby team.

What would you consider the strong points of your team this year? My team’s strongest point has to, most definitely, be the lineouts. That’s where we have JJ Liebenberg in the hooker position who has the ability and skill to consistently hit our jumpers. We also have the expertise of Martin van der Berg and Liam Langeveld, both of whom are very skilled jumpers who navigate themselves quite well in the air. We also have skilled powerlifters in Liyema Mjoli, Bubele Thibini and Siphesihle Goliath – these gentlemen do all the lifting.

What motivates you to give your best on the field week after week? For me it is all about leaving the jersey – and what it represents – in a better place than where I found it. This is only achievable by making sure that I play my heart out week in and week out. Knowing that I’m holding my family name up high and making sure that I’m using a talent that God blessed me with to the very best of my ability, also serves to motivate me.

Your team has been together for 5 years.  What makes your team special? Our team’s philosophy is “Humility breeds success”.  The members of our team continuously show humility by asking themselves, “How can we do this better?” and they’re not afraid to put in the hard work to improve their performance. I think that is what makes us special.

What has been your team’s greatest achievement over the past 5 years? Our greatest achievement came in our first year playing together as u/14As when we beat our fiercest rivals, Hoër Volkskool, in front of a jam-packed Botanics stadium- that was a very special moment.

Who is the joker of the team and why? The joker has to be Thando Matotie. That oke knows how to get the lads laughing. He has a great sense of humour and is always laughing – even when we’re dead tired and doing hill sprints, you’ll just suddenly hear him crack a joke that gets everyone laughing.

What is the most enjoyable time after a match? The most enjoyable time after a match is when we get the “W” and we gather in the changing room where the lads take pictures with Sisipho Arnols’ phone (best quality) for our various social media platforms. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, my most enjoyable moment was when I’d walk over to my dad after a match and he’d give me a handshake and say, “Well played, son”.

Who was your matric hero in Grade 8? In Grade 8, my matric hero was the 2017 first team rugby captain, Ross Stanley. He always made me feel part of the team as its waterboy. That made me look forward to playing for the school’s 1st XV.

Choose one:

  • Tackle or Clean: Tackle
  • Dummy or Side-step: Dummy
  • Winning try or winning kick: Winning try.

Ongoing Coach Training & Development

This past week, on 26 and 27 May, Union High School was privileged to have Mr Anthony Heugh, an experienced and respected World Rugby Coaching Educator, in our midst, to assess all our coaches for their World Rugby Level 2 accreditation.

Mr Heugh has been working with the Union coaches since September 2019.

After having successfully completed their World Rugby Level 1 certification a while ago, each of them had to compile a coaching portfolio of their coaching processes along with the completion of a set of online exams, to be followed by a practical assessment to be conducted by Mr Heugh for their Level 2 accreditation.

Following his visit last week, Mr Heugh was very impressed by the high standard of work done by all the coaches and completed the practical assessments with the coaches over two days, ensuring that all coaches were fairly judged on their coaching abilities.

Union High School is very pleased to announce that Messrs JP Kruger, Erwin Ittershagen-Strauss, Hanno Sparrius, Christopher Felix and Donald Kingwill were all awarded their World Rugby Level 2 accreditation.

“We are very grateful that the school has afforded us this opportunity,” said Union’s 1st team rugby coach, Mr Christopher Felix.

“Part of my goal for rugby at Union High School is that the coaches will grow together and provide quality coaching, be students of the game and keep sport educational. This Level 2 course definitely ticked all the boxes. All coaches were signed off as competent and received their certificates. We are looking forward to imparting the knowledge gained while completing the course with all our players.”

Thank You Compu-Serve!

Union High School extends a grateful word of thanks to Mr Donovan Burger and Mr Chris Erlank of 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗽𝘂-𝗦𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗽𝘂𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗦𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗲 for the new custom Union-branded rugby post protector and line flag covers for the Puttick and Minnaar rugby fields.
They have really enhanced the look of our sports grounds and we are immensely grateful for their support.
Seen here is Mr Donovan Burger with Union’s 1st XV captain Mihlali Tyanase and coach, Mr Christopher Felix.

New Kit For 1st XV

Union High School’s 1st XV received their new playing kit earlier today, Saturday, 8 May, thanks to the generous sponsorship provided by Botha’s Garage.
Mr Shawn Botha, of Botha’s Garage, visited the school today to present the jerseys to 1st XV captain Mihlali Tyanase. The team’s coach Mr Christopher Felix, commented “We are very grateful to our 1st XV sponsor for their support this season. Our players are putting a lot of time and effort into their rugby and the provision of new kits plays an important motivational role.”
Union High School is extremely grateful to Botha’s Garage for their support. We’re sure that anyone that has ever had dealings with the team at Botha’s Garage can attest to how extremely fortunate we are to have them involved at Union.
Seen here is Union’s 1st XV coach, Mr Christopher Felix, captain Mihlali Tyanase (Nr. and teammates Liso Binqela (Nr. 15) and MJ Newton (Nr. 9), accepting the kit from Mr Botha on behalf of the team.

First Of The Season for UHS 1st XV

In 2020, Covid-19 destroyed many a Grade 12 learner’s dream of playing for his 1st XV, and, at one point, we could almost see 2020 repeating itself and we were all worried that the 2021 season could be over before it even began.
Needless to say, the resumption of school rugby in April was a welcome relief for all who love the game.
On Saturday, 8 May, Union High School’s 1st XV enjoyed a friendly match against Asherville Secondary School, their first since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The boys played the game with fierce enthusiasm and pride and suffice to say, we loved every minute of it, from the build-up with the war cry to the spectators supporting us from the back of their bakkies outside the school grounds.
We extend our thanks to Asherville Secondary School’s 1st XV for the friendly competition, the Union drivers for availing themselves on a Saturday to transport the Asherville players to the game and back and to the Union boys and their coach for, as always, making their school proud by giving it their best.
➡️ Next Saturday, 15 May, Union will play Muir College.

New Coach For Union’s 1st XV

Union High School takes great pride in announcing that Mr Christopher Felix has been named as the new coach of the school’s 1st rugby team.
Mr Felix, a well-known educator at Union who is highly regarded by all his learners, has been teaching Accounting to the school’s seniors since 2014. He is currently also serving as the Senior Duty Master at Union’s senior boarding establishment, Arthur Kingwill House.
Since starting at Union, Mr Felix has been involved in the coaching of rugby in all the respective age groups, from u/13 right through to u/19, while attending numerous coaching clinics and courses over the years.
In addition to this, Mr Felix boasts some valuable coaching experience gained while serving as the assistant coach of the Eastern Province Country Districts team in 2018 and 2019.
Following his continuous successes with his EPCD teams at the Academy Week rugby tournaments, he was subsequently appointed as the head coach of the EPCD team for 2020/21, before the rugby season was shelved due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With a coaching philosophy of ‘Humility breeds success”, we’re confident that the boys will thrive under Mr Felix’s knowledgeable and passionate tutelage.
“It is an honour and a privilege to be able to coach Union’s 1st team rugby boys this year. Following a difficult year in which they weren’t able to take to the field, they’re motivated and raring to go,” said Mr Felix on his appointment. “For me, the game needs to be exciting, fast-paced running rugby and, whilet is what I am looking forward to encouraging here, my main focus will be the boys’ growth and development and most importantly, they must enjoy it,” concluded Mr Felix.

Jnr Rugby Results – Lorraine Primary School Sports Day

Union High School’s u/13A rugby team travelled to Port Elizabeth on Saturday, 14 March, to participate in the annual sports day hosted by Lorraine Primary School.

Although there are many ways to describe the efforts of these young rugby players, only one word comes to mind – phenomenal!

The Union youngsters exceeded all expectations, delivering some of the most exhilarating attacking play seen on the day.

True determination and passion were on display from beginning to end as Union defeated three strong opponents to walk away undefeated.

Union beat Verkenner 5 – 0, Grens 25 – 0 and Stulting 10 – 5.

Well done on an amazing effort, boys!

Jnr Rugby Results – Grens Sports Festival

U/13 Rugby players enjoy successful tour to East London

This past weekend, Union High School’s u/13A rugby team travelled to East London to participate in the 10th annual Grens Sports Festival.

This tour marked the start of a very busy rugby season and serves as a great opportunity for Union’s young players to find their feet while playing competitive rugby against some of the best schools in East London.

After a lengthy bus ride on Friday, the group of exited rugby players faced off against Lilyfontein Primary in what proved to be a challenging encounter. The Union players played with determination and managed to win the encounter 26-5.

Saturday morning’s first fixture against George Randell Primary School was extremely physical and was unfortunately one step to far for our boys, who went down 12-24.

In the team’s last fixture of the festival, they found themselves facing a formidable Gonubie Primary School team. This match exceeded any and all expectation as the Union boys played exceptional rugby, punching way above their weight to win the match 31-12.

Snr Rugby Results – Kirkwood Sports Festival

Union beats Humansdorp, 19 – 12

On Saturday, 7 March, Union High School’s 1st XV played against Humansdorp Secondary in very hot conditions at the Kirkwood Sports Day.

The match was played at a furious pace, but both teams proved up to the challenge.

Union’s try scorers were Ashwon Davids, Martin van der Berg and Ashton Davids. Jaden Brotherton and Brett Amsterdam added a conversion each.

The Union players can be commended on a huge defensive effort.

The final score saw Union winning the encounter 19 -12.

Coaches Prep for 2020 Rugby Season

This past weekend, nine dedicated members of the Union Schools’ staff attended a World Rugby Level 2 coaching course.

The course was presented by Mr Anthony Heugh (World Rugby Coaching Educator) and was facilitated at Union High School over the course of two days.

The course was aimed at enhancing the participants’ coaching capability and technical knowledge.

The weekend’s activities included board sessions, theory work, video analysis and practical sessions with the school’s 1st XV squad.

The coaches will complete the second part of the course in May, the successful completion of which will see them earn their World Rugby Level 2 qualification.