Ten South African schools will take part in the inaugural World Schools Festival in Paarl from 2-7 April.
The international event, which will also features 10 of the best school teams from around the world, will be hosted by Paarl Boys’ High School as part of the school’s 150-year anniversary celebrations.
Aside from showcasing global stars of the future, some of the world’s best coaches will also be invited to the tournament to work with the youngsters and local coaches, in order to assist in driving development by raising domestic standards across the board.
Fulfilling a dream by providing a platform for local talent to face the best schools from around the world on home soil, Carinat Sports Marketing managing director and former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer believes the event will offer all participants a life-changing opportunity.
‘I’ve always coached rugby because I believe in making a difference in people’s lives, and I truly believe this event can do that,’ he said.
‘Rugby is not only about competing hard on the field, but also making friendships for life off the field, so this tournament will give something back to the game by making a difference and developing rugby in South Africa.
‘I’m really excited about it and really looking forward to some great games.’
Aside from the hosts, local participating schools will include Affies, Boland Landbou, Glenwood, Monument, Grey College, Outeniqua, Oakdale, Paarl Gimnasium and Hilton College.
The overseas schools taking part will be announced closer to the event.
Paarl Boys’ coach Sean Erasmus is eager to see his team in action at a whole new level, as they look to celebrate the school’s anniversary in style.
‘It’s a very exciting time for us as a rugby fraternity and a school family,’ he said. ‘It’s definitely going to boost the boys, and it’s an ideal opportunity for the South African sides to band together and measure themselves against the best from across the world.’
Former Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has thrown his weight behind the tournament.
‘Schoolboy rugby is popular across South Africa and around the world, and an event of this magnitude will not only give the players a crucial opportunity to grow and expand on their skills by facing elite competition, but it also gives fans a chance to watch these young players in action,’ he said.
‘By developing the game at school level, we will see that success flowing into the senior game, and hopefully more international contests like this will be launched in order to contribute towards the promotion of the sport.’