Meet Union High School’s first team rugby captain: Mihlali Tyanase
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.
- Tackle or Clean: Tackle
- Dummy or Side-step: Dummy
- Winning try or winning kick: Winning try.
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.”
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!
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.
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.