Herbert Hayton Castens

Herbert Hayton Castens (23 November 1864 – 18 October 1929) was a South African rugby union footballer and cricketer. He captained South Africa at both rugby and cricket, and played an important role in the development of rugby and cricket in South Africa, both on and off the field. He was usually known as H. H. Castens.[1]

H. H. Castens
Birth nameHerbert Hayton Castens
Date of birth(1864-11-23)23 November 1864
Place of birthPearston, Eastern Province, South Africa
Date of death18 October 1929(1929-10-18) (aged 64)
Place of deathFulham, London, England
Height1.86 m (6 ft 1.5 in)
Weight111 kg (17 st 4 lb)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Forward
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Villagers RFC ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1891 South Africa 1 (0)
Refereeing career
Years Competition Apps
1891 Test Matches 1
Cricket information
Domestic team information
1890-91 to 1893-94Western Province
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 4
Runs scored 250
Batting average 41.66
100s/50s 1/1
Top score 165
Balls bowled 0
Bowling average
5 wickets in innings
10 wickets in match
Best bowling
Catches/stumpings 4/2
Source: Cricinfo, 11 November 2018


Early lifeEdit

Born in Pearston in the Cape Colony, Castens was educated at Rugby School in England, where the sport of rugby is thought to have been created. He played both cricket and rugby, and was an outstanding athlete during his youth. He studied law at Oxford University, where in 1887, he obtained a rugby Blue.[2] He was elected President of Vincent's Club. While studying, Castens played rugby for Middlesex and the South of England. Upon completing his studies at Oxford, he returned to South Africa, where he practised law in Cape Town.

Rugby careerEdit

Castens joined the Villagers Rugby Football Club, the second oldest rugby club in South Africa, in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. In 1890-91 he also represented the Western Province cricket team at the fifth Champion Bat Tournament in Cape Town as an opening batsman and wicket-keeper. He scored 165 against Eastern Province, the highest score of the three-match tournament.[3]

In 1891, the British Isles rugby team toured South Africa. Castens refereed the first tour match, which was a combined Cape Town rugby side against the British Isles. Two days later he was appointed manager of the Western Province rugby side.[4]

On 30 July, he captained South Africa in their first rugby international, against the British Isles team, which was played at the Crusader's Ground in Port Elizabeth. The British side scored two tries and a conversion to win the contest four to nil. Castens played in the front row in his one and only test. He thus became the first (and likely only) man to ever referee and play in matches in the same rugby test series. He also refereed a number of other matches in the tour: Port Elizabeth Clubs, Cape Colony, and the third and final test at Newlands on September 5, and won four to nil by Britain. Managing Western Province, he also played for them in their match against the tourists. He also refereed the unofficial final match of the tour against Stellenbosch. Castens is thought to be one of South Africa's first active rugby coaches; he believed that rugby was somewhat of a science.[5]

Test historyEdit

No. Opponents Results(SA 1st) Position Tries Date Venue
1.   British Isles 0–4 Forward (c) 30 Jul 1891 Crusaders Ground, Port Elizabeth

Cricket careerEdit

In March 1894, the year that the South African Cricket Association was established, Castens captained Western Province to victory in the final of the Currie Cup tournament at Newlands in Cape Town, scoring 61 in an innings victory over Natal.[6] Soon after, a South African cricket tour to England was organised, with Castens appointed as the captain. South Africa played matches against the first-class counties, but no Tests or first-class matches were played. 24 games were played on the tour, with 12 victories, five losses and seven draws. Castens scored 58 against Surrey.

Later lifeEdit

Castens later moved to Southern Rhodesia, where he worked as an advocate, and was later elected to the National Legislature, and served as secretary to the government for a number of years.[2] Castens died on 18 October 1929 in Fulham, London, at the age of sixty-four.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Herbert Hayton Castens". ESPN scrum. Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  2. ^ a b Williamson, Martin. "H. H. Castens". Cricinfo. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Champion Bat Tournament 1890-91". CricketArchive. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  4. ^ Parker, A. C. (1983). W.P. Rugby : centenary, 1883-1983. Western Province Rugby Football Union (South Africa) (1st ed.). Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa: WPRFU. pp. 10–21. ISBN 0-620-06555-9. OCLC 54188953.CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  5. ^ Dobson, Paul (1995). 30 Super Springboks (1st ed.). Cape Town: Human & Rousseau. pp. 13–14. ISBN 0-7981-3411-9. OCLC 37966584.
  6. ^ "Western Province v Natal 1893-94". CricketArchive. Retrieved 11 November 2018.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Springbok Captain
Succeeded by
Bob Snedden