THE GREEN MACHINE AND THEIR PROUD PLACE IN THE RUGBY HISTORY OF KWAZULU NATAL
To delve deeper into the proud history of Glenwood Old Boys it is probably best to go back in time and look at the early days of now one of the provinces top learning institutions Glenwood High School.
In the winter of 1910 the very year in which the now legendary A.S. Langley was appointed headmaster of Durban High School and ruled that a new sport rugby was to be introduced at the school, another school Durban Technical Institute opened their doors. The new school would ultimately develop and grow to become Glenwood High School. It’s hard to imagine that what has now become one of the finest institutions in KZN had started their long and proud history with the unwieldy name of the Day Continuation School for Boys.
The school was to be later called Technical High School and moved to the current site McDonald Road in 1929 and five years later in 1934 was renamed Glenwood Old Boys. With this in mind there had always been huge debates on the origins of the Glenwood Old Boys Rugby Club. If one looks up the winners in the Murray Cup competition they would note that in 1931 and '32 Tech College won the trophy and there is strong reason to believe that the Tech College Rugby Club, which is reported to have been founded in the early 1920’s for the benefit of the Technical High School Old Boys Association, was in fact where the origins of the Glenwood Old Boys Rugby Club are to be found.
However history officially dates the birth of the club as we knew it before their merger with DHS Old Boys at the end of 2006 and, which was to become one of the most successful in KZN, to 1934 with Arthur Tungay being appointed the first captain of the 1st XV whilst still coaching the First XV at the school. What made intriguing history at the time was the fact that Isak van Heerden was playing for Durban Collegians and coaching the Durban High School first side with both men making huge contributions to the sport through their respective clubs and schools, so perhaps the merger is perhaps more meaningful than we would realise.
The club won its first piece of KZNRU silverware in their inaugural year taking home the Walker Cup with an unbeaten record in their league. They followed up by winning the Junior Murray Cup later in the season and from there grew in stature although still playing in the Second Division going into the 1940’s, which made them even more determined to be promoted in First Division after the Second World War. The war years for most clubs were difficult but the ‘Green Machine’ survived those gloomy days.
When life returned back to normal after the war the club got back on track with Ron Tungay, a former Natal wing three quarter the man who was to become instrumental in finding a new home for the club when he negotiated with local council in acquiring the war time Radar Base in Durban North. Needless to say he was successful in his endeavours and it was therefore not surprising that the club grounds and facilities were named after him and became known as Tungay Park.
First Division status followed not long after that and they won the Murray Cup for the first time in 1960 and the Moor Cup was to follow for the first time in 1967. From then on the club became one of the strongest clubs in the province producing many legendary Springboks like Rodney Gould, Don Walton, Martin van Rensburg and later Steve Atherton and John Allan. Players like Dick Muir and Jeremy Thompson have worn the green strip as well while another Bok legend who also played for them was Kevin de Klerk during his short stay in Natal. There was also Bok flyhalf DeWet Ras, Peter Cronje the mercurial Springbok centre and All Black legend, centre Graham Thorne.
Of course one shouldn’t forget the many great coaches that passed through their ranks and made such huge contributions to the game such as Koos Beukes, Toppy Hortop, Len Fry, Frans de Beer and the legendary KITCH CHRISTIE, the man who steered the Springboks to glory at the 1995 Rugby World Cup on our own doorstep here in South Africa.
Rugby administrators like Tickey Griggs, Lourens Combrink, Graham Blackburn, Alan Muirhead and the players like Des McClean, Cliffy Brown (a Junior Springbok), Derek Lamarque and the legendary Natal prop Willem Labuschagne to name a few should also be remembered for their services to the game.
Deon Carstens is a current Bok member of the new look club as they enter into a new era, which hopefully will bring them many more years of success and of course the silverware.