We profile Hoërskool Nelspruit, one of South Africa’s great rugby schools.
In the lovely, fertile valley of the Crocodile Valley the farmers Nel had a farm. And on that farm there was a stream – a spruit in South Africa. And when the town grew they called it Nelspruit. So the brothers Andries, Gert and Louis Nel are famous.
During the Second Siouth African War Nelspruit was for a whyile the capital of the South African Republic – the old Transvaal with its Vierkleur. When President Paul Kruger went into exile the state mint's gold went with him to stop the advancing British from ceasing it. The “Kruger Millions” were offloaded in Nelspruit and carried into the bushes never to be seen again. They have remained a mystery and an attraction for treasure-hunters. It was Kruger’s last stopping place before he dropped down into Mozambique and off to exile.
Nelspruit is now a capital again – of Mpumalanga one of the provinces of South Africa. Kit is the largest town in the Lowveld, close to the Kruger Park. Not far from Nelspruit are the lovely, mountainous Kaapsehoop, the Sudwala Caves, Blyde River Canyon, Bourke's Luck Potholes and other scenic splendours. Tropical fruits thrive in the area.
Hoërskool Nelspruit is the biggest school in the area and has given birth to other schools – Hoërskool Bergvlam and Lowveld High School.
Name: Hoërskool Nelspruit
Foundation date: 29 July 1952
Motto: Palmam qui merit ferat. (Let the reward go to the one who deserves it)
Number of pupils: 1150 (roughly 580 boys)
Boarders: 420 (200 boys)
Rugby teams: 14
Rugby at Nelspruit
Nelspruit is one of the four Big Schools of Mpumalanga and plays in the Super 16 Competition for Biog Schools. Several times its teams (1st, Under-16 and Under-15) have played in the finals. In four of the last five years the 1st XV has played in the Mpumalanga final of the Beeld Trophy.
The school is popular and regularly invited to top festivals.
During the last four years Nelspruit has been in Rugby 365’s Top 20.
In 2003 six Nelspruit players were in the Mpumalanga Craven Week team. Two players have played for SA Schools – Leon Nel and Wiam Arlow who was in the 2003 SA Under-19 team which won the World Championship in France.
In 2002 Nelspruit was voted Mpumalanga Rugby School of the Year.
The Nellies have strong rivals in Mpumalanga – the Rooibulle HTS Middelburg, the Erries of Ermelo and Rob Ferreira. But competition spreads further afield, especially to Affies and Klofies of Pretoria.
Rugby Old Boys
Two Springboks are Old Boys of Nelspruit – lock Nico Wegner and loose forward Schutte Bekker. Louis Holtzhausen played for SA Country, Le Roux de Beer for SA Universities and Derrick Badenhorst for SA Under-21.