Split image of Bryan Habana and of a KES student catching a rugby ball

Budding young rugby players from King Edward VII School (KES) in Gauteng, South Africa, have broken two world records with the help of former pupil and World Cup winner Bryan Habana:

  • Most rugby passes by a team in one minute - 96
  • Most rugby passes by a team in three minutes – 283

Founded in 1902, KES is one of South Africa’s top public schools. They have 27 rugby teams with 405 boys playing the sport on any given week.

One of their star players was Bryan Habana, who, a few years after leaving KES, went on to win the 2007 Rugby World Cup with South Africa. Habana scored eight tries in total, equalling Jonah Lomu’s (New Zealand) record for the most tries in a Rugby Union World Cup tournament.

Habana and Lomu also share the record for the most tries scored in Rugby Union World Cup tournaments, with 15 apiece.

Thus, Habana was the perfect person to help the KES boys set some Guinness World Records titles for themselves.

"For me, the fundamentals of my development, both as a person and more so as a rugby player, started off here." – Bryan Habana

Bryan Habana is one of the fastest rugby players ever, but his famed speed was of no use to him in these record attempts.

The one-minute record was newly created, thus a minimum of 75 passes was required in order to officially set the record.

Each team member had to be at least 3 metres (9 ft 10 in) apart and all the passes had to adhere to rugby laws, meaning only backwards passes were permitted.

As the 60-second timer began, Habana made the first pass. The KES team proceeded to quickly shuttle the ball around the circle they’d formed, being careful to not overstep their mark or drop the ball.

"[It went] as smoothly as a one-take wonder could go," Habana said after completing the first record attempt. "There was a lot of hype, a lot of communication, but I think the fluidity of the pass was pretty good."

KES student catching a rugby ball

However, before the boys could find out if they’d broken the record, they had to attempt the second one.

The three-minute record to beat was 237 passes, set in 2012 by an adult team, the Berlin Bruisers (Germany).

The KES team seemed to start at an even faster pace for their second record attempt, which almost came at a cost as a few of the passes were fumbled and nearly fell to the floor.

Despite the close calls, they completed the attempt without too much trouble and were confident that they’d broken both records. 

However, official adjudicator Sofia Greenacre spotted a couple of forward passes during the second attempt and required some time to review the video footage before delivering her final verdict.

KES student passing a rugby ball

After nervously awaiting the results, Habana and the KES team were overjoyed when Sofia announced that the first record attempt was successful.

Unfortunately, for the second record attempt, six of the passes were disqualified, with Habana being the culprit for more than one!

Luckily, they made up for these mistakes with sheer speed, breaking the previous record by 46 passes.

Bryan habana and KES team holding Guinness World Records certificates

In addition to the KES boys being awarded their two newly-earned Guinness World Records certificates, Bryan Habana was also belatedly awarded his certificates for his World Cup records.

After achieving two world records with their sporting hero, the KES rugby players will be hoping to follow in Habana’s footsteps by representing the Springboks on the world stage.

Will any of them be able to do the unthinkable and break Habana’s try-scoring record?

"For the teachers, for everyone out there who plays a massive role in giving kids wisdom, educating and playing a vital part in [their] development, kudos to each and every one of you." – Bryan Habana

Bryana Habana holding a rugby ball

These record attempts featured on episode eight of Stumbo Record Breakers, airing every Sunday on e.tv