A scintillating southern suburb derby ends in ecstasy for Rondebosch as they win it late against Bishops 36 – 35 on the Piley Rees field, in what was an epic Sportmans Warehouse Premier Interschools match that took place on Saturday the 26th of August 2023.

It wasn’t the start Rondebosch wanted as they opened the game with an error in their own 22m area from kickoff that resulted in a penalty opportunity for the hosts in the opening minute. Bishops Flyhalf Shaywan Blakenberg stepped up and knocked over the three points to get his side off to a good start. Bishops 3 Rondebosch 0.

Rondebosch managed to put the pressure straight back on the hosts from the restart. The pressure resulted in a penalty of their own and left winger, Ethan Gordon stepped up to get his side on the scoreboard. Bishops 3 Rondebosch 3 with 5 minutes played and nothing to choose between the two sides on the Piley Rees.

A ding dong battle continued as Rondebosch tried to play from deep within their half but the Bishops defence was up to the task. Openside flanker Alex Smith won his side a penalty at the breakdown for holding on by the Rondebosch ball carrier. Blakenberg knocked over his second penalty of the afternoon to give Bishops the lead once more. Bishops 6 Rondebosch 3 with 13 minutes played.

Although behind on the scoreboard Rondebosch had enjoyed most of the possession in the opening quarter of the game. They marched down field thanks to the power of their forward pack which soon earned them the right to go out wide. Fullback David Simon found space thanks to his silky footwork as he dived over for the first try of the afternoon. Gordon slotted the conversion from up against the touchline. Rondebosch lead away from home 10 points to 6.

Bishops weren’t to be outplayed on their home patch though with great intent shown from the restart Their defence putting Rondebosch under pressure which forced a knock on. This gave Bishops a great platform to attack from at the scrum and they made it count. A sniping break from their scrumhalf Haashim Pead close to the tryline resulted in a simple finish for him. Blakenberg added the extra two points. Bishops lead 13 – 10 with 22 minutes on the clock.

A back and forth, breathless battle ensued but it was Rondebosch who answered back with a barging run from their number 5 lock Tom Barnard as he crashed his way over the tryline. Gordon converted once more. 17 – 13 to Rondebosch.

Rondebosch now seemingly with their tails up and Bishops having to hold on. The visitors weren’t done yet in the first half. A training ground move that was executed with great precision saw fullback David Simon slice through the Bishops defense to bag his brace of tries in the corner. Gordon missed the tough touchline conversion. Rondebosch opened up a 9 point lead and were looking dangerous with 5 minutes left in the first half.

It was Bishops that had the last say in the first half against the run of play. They slowly pilled on the pressure and built phases which soon resulted in rewards for them. Strong pick and goes around the ruck kept them moving forward until eighthman Aiden Norris put his head down and broke the Rondebosch defense to score his team’s second try. On the stroke of half time Blakenberg added the two points from the kicking tee.

The visitors took a slender two point lead into the half time break. Rondebosch 22 – Bishops 20.

Bishops came out firing after the break and put Rondebosch under all sorts of pressure. The Rondebosch defense stood strong for as long as they could but it was Bishops flanker Tapiwa Nkumanda with the help of a couple of his teammates that found his way over the tryline. The conversion was missed by Blakenberg. Bishops took back the lead 25 points to 22.

Momentum was now fully with the hosts as they grew in confidence. Bishops were relentless with carry after carry from their forward pack meaning they could march deep into the Rondebosch half. Bishops mercurial scrumhalf Haashim Pead was at it again with an almost identical snip to his one if the first half around the ruck which saw him find open space and a clean run in to secure his brace of tries. Blakenberg was pinpoint from the tee. Bishops lead 32 – 22 with 15 minutes left in this southern suburb derby.

Rondeboschs discipline soon cost them shortly after the restart as they conceded a penalty for a late tackle. The kick was in range for Blakenberg and he calmly stepped up to add the three points on offer. The game began to look out of reach for Rondebosch as Bishops opened up a 13 point lead.

Rondebosch refused to be counted out late on as they chased the game. A great break by their left winger put them well into Bishops half. Rondebosch continued to build phases and soon they broke down the Bishops defense. Right winger Juma Amissi finished off a great movement in the corner. The conversion was successful and brought Rondebosch right back into the game. Bishops 35 – Rondebosch 29 with 8 minutes left to play.

Tensions were high as Rondebosch fought tooth and nail until the end and their patience and tenacity paid off. Bishops discipline let them down with time almost up on the clock. Rondebosch kept bashing away and it was captain courageous Matthew Malherbe who found his way through the Bishops defense to score and set up a conversion for a last gasp victory. Ethan Gordon had been good all day from the kicking tee and he was good once more when it mattered most.

It was a storybook ending for Rondebosch as they looked down and out with a little over ten minutes left in the game. You can never count a side out in a derby such as this as they claimed a historic victory away from home on the iconic Piley Rees field. Rondebosch winners by one point, 36 – 35.

Sportsmans Warehouse Man of the Match: Rondebosch Fullback David Simon.


For Bishops

Tries: Haashim Pead (2); Aiden Norris; Tapiwa Nkumanda

Cons:  Shayman Blakenberg 3/4

Pens: Shayman Blakenberg 3/3

For Rondebosch

Tries: David Simon (2); Tom Barnard; Juma Amissi; Matthew Malherbe

Cons: Ethan Gordon 4/5

Pens: Ethan Gordon 1/1


Bishops: 15 Gilermo Mentoe, 14 Lucca Mynhart, 13 Olo Sopotela, 12 Nic Allison, 11 Ayanda Bonoyi, 10 Shaywan Blakenberg, 9 Haashim Pead, 8 Aiden Norris, 7 Alex Smith, 6 Tapiwa Nkumanda, 5 CJ Jordan, 4 Zach Willemse, 3 Nashe Chahwahwa, 2 Merlin Fransman, 1 Richard Horton

Rondebosch: 15 David Simon, 14 Juma Amissi, 13 Nichollas Molyneux, 12 Matthew Malherbe, 11 Ethan Gordon, 10 Dylan Miller, 9 Cameron Whitson, 8 Ryan Du Rand, 7 Sunday Mailoni-Burns, 6 Polite Phiri, 5 Tom Barnard, 4 Carl Geddie, 3 Nicolas Swier, 2 Thomas Van Wyk, 1 Justin Amos


Photo 1 : Ethan Gordon from Rondebosch kicks the winning conversion.

Photo 2 : Shaywan Blanckenberg from Bishops with ball in hand.

Photographer : Roger Sedres (Gallo Images)

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – AUGUST 26: Shaywan Blankenberg of Bishops Diocesan College during the Sportsmans Warehouse Premier Interschools rugby match between Bishops Diocesan College and Rondebosch Boys High School at Bishops Diocesan College on August 26, 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images)


Media release issued by Terras Communications on behalf of Premier Interschools

For press assistance contact Lauren Terras on +27 82 785 2644 or e-mail lauren@terrascomms.com . For further information on Terras Communications visit www.terrascomms.com


Robert Blair, Operations Manager Premier Interschools Pty Ltd.

Telephone: +27 (0)79 588 3703

Email: robbie@premierinterschools.co.za

About Premier Interschools

Premier Interschools is a series of 12 rugby & netball matches, which feature the highest profile and most traditional interschool rivalries from South Africa’s top rugby & netball schools, which are broadcast live on SuperSport from March to August.

School sport has served as one of the cornerstones of the South African sporting landscape dating back more than a century, and true to its slogan “Honouring Heritage. Playing for the Future”, Premier Interschools is about history, heritage and tradition. The series, now in its tenth year, is expected to grow even stronger.

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