A rivalry that is viewed as one of the great interschools events on the South African schoolboys rugby calendar, dating back 98 years, is set to take place on Saturday, 4 September when Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Affies) and Pretoria Boys’ High meet.
The two teams first played in 1923 after Affies was formed in 1920 from the original Pretoria Boys’ High. They played each other three times in that first year with the first match seen as the ‘official’ interschools game, which Boys’ High won. An extract from the match report in the Pretoria News:
“A Second League Rugby football match on Saturday between the Boys’ High School and Afrikaans High School provided by far the best football fare of the afternoon and the greatest excitement. Both schools had brought along bands of supporters. The High School particularly being strong in school cries and football songs.”
As an exhibition of football the game was an object lesson to the Grand Challenge game that came later, for both schools displayed a control of their movements which the senior game lacked. From start to finish the football was waged at a great pace.
The first few years were dominated by Boys’ High with Affies having to wait another nine years to record their first win. Pretoria Boys’ High – more affectionately known as the ‘Candies’ – won most of those earlier years’ encounters with Affies interspersing with some wins of their own.
The two schools did not play in 1944 due to an issue with finding an appropriate date for the match. Affies were involved in the Admin Cup and as a result had to add a further three matches to the end of the season. The match against Boys’ High was planned for the same time that the playoff matches had to take place and as a result, the two schools could not find a suitable date.
A similar situation took place in 1957, but there was also a flu epidemic adding to the issue and the two schools did not face each other.
The 50th game was played in 1956 and Pretoria Boys won that encounter much to their delight after a three-year losing streak.
From the seventies on, Affies started to dominate the encounters and catch up on the total wins. During one unbelievably long spell from 1986 to 2002, Boys’ High could not win one game and lost 18 out of 19 games played with one game ending in a draw over the span of these 17 years. They won the big one, though. In 2005, the 100th game between these two great schools was played and Pretoria Boys’ High won that epic battle 25-21.
Affies again took control from 2009 and have up to date won 12 out the last 13 encounters, only losing in 2019. This was the last match played as the Covid-19 pandemic did not allow for a match in 2020. In total, they have played 116 games of which Affies won 65, Pretoria Boys’ High 42, with nine draws.
The ongoing pandemic put paid to many schoolboys matches and Affies could only manage to play five games, winning three and losing two.
Pretoria Boys’ High managed only three games during the 2021 season and could not record a single win. Boys High also faced KES on 21 August and lost 27-24. They will be hoping to set the record straight again on Saturday.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images