The 150th anniversary clash between Sacs and Bishops is one of the highlights of schoolboy rugby weekend

The 150th anniversary clash between Sacs and Bishops is one of the highlights of schoolboy rugby weekend
Sacs (in stripes) against Bishops is the oldest organised rugby match in South Africa. They first met in 1873. (Photo: Peter Heeger / Gallo Images)

South Africa’s oldest organised rugby derby takes place on the Piley Rees Field in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs on Saturday.

Bishops Diocesan College (Bishops) will host South African College School (Sacs) on Saturday to mark the 150th anniversary match between the two prestigious high schools.

Sacs head into the derby encounter as underdogs having won only three of their seven matches so far this season and are currently on a three-match losing streak.

Conversely, Bishops have lost only one match this season – a 24-12 defeat at home to Paul Roos last weekend.

Sacs were expected to take a thrashing last season too but came out 15-10 victors. Such is the nature of derby fixtures – form often goes out of the window in the heat of the battle.

South Africa’s oldest school, Sacs, meets Bishops this weekend, celebrating a rivalry that enjoys its 150th anniversary. (Photo: Peter Heeger / Gallo Images)


The first officially recorded game between Sacs and Bishops was held in 1873. The first match ever played at Newlands Rugby Stadium, in April 1890, was contested between the two schools.

Sacs versus Bishops also served as the intervarsity match of the day when both schools had yet to cede their college classes.

In 1891, the Sacs man Ben Duff played three rugby union Test matches in a home series against the British Isles. These were the first-ever official Tests that South Africa played and owing to the order in which players’ names were listed on team sheets for a match at the time, Duff has the distinction of being the first Springbok.

Western Province – winners of the Currie Cup in 1892 – wore Sacs jerseys because their captain Ben Duff was a Sacs man and they have worn the blue-and-white hoops of Sacs ever since.

In 1896, South Africa wore the myrtle-green shirts for the first time, which their captain, Barry “Fairy” Heatlie, borrowed from his Old Diocesans club (Bishops). The Springboks play in the same green jersey to this day.

Paarl derby

There is another massive schoolboy derby a few kilometres east of Rondebosch on Saturday with Paul Roos and Paarl Gimnasium facing off at the Markotter Stadium in Stellenbosch.

Paarl Gim have a score to settle as Paul Roos upset them last year on home turf, and won a closely fought game 26-24.

Paarl Gim will be out to return the favour, and beat Paul Roos on their beloved Markotter in front of the partisan home crowd.

The last 10 matches between the two sides have seen Paarl Gim winning seven, and Paul Roos three, so the home team would like to make it two-in-a-row for 2023.

Paul Roos is currently on a winning streak of five in a row after their loss to Monument at the North-South festival. Having opted not to participate in any Easter Weekend festivals, their team seem to be rejuvenated and have shown some good form in recent weeks. DM

Schoolboy rugby fixtures on Saturday

Grey College vs Selborne

Hilton vs Durban High

Kearsney vs Michaelhouse

Maritzburg vs Glenwood

Westville vs Jeppe

Bishops vs Sacs

Paul Roos vs Paarl Gim

Stellenberg vs Paarl Boys

Milnerton vs Rondebosch

Durbanville vs Drostdy

Grey High vs Wynberg

Daniel Pienaar vs Framesby

Dale vs Cambridge

Garsfontein vs Waterkloof

Monument vs Nelspruit

Helpmekaar vs Menlopark

St Alban’s vs Pretoria Boys

St Stithians vs St Benedict’s

Parktown vs Kes


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