Does South Africa have the most competitive Schoolboy Rugby league in the world?

If you’ve ever driven through Cape Town’s wine route, or if you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Bloemfontein, you’d wonder why full-grown men were wearing school uniforms. The truth is, those weren’t full-grown men, but rather school learners, who were blessed with the physical stature of the likes famed in Greek mythology. 

If you hear a South African with an interest in schoolboy rugby talking, you’ll more than likely hear them speaking about the fact that South Africa is the home of schoolboy rugby, and that no other country is able to measure up.

The facts are the facts, the Springboks have long been one of the longstanding forces in world rugby, and you don’t get there by chance. You get there by implementing systems and having a wealth of talent to draw from. 

The level of schoolboy rugby has become exceedingly professional as time has gone by. These days schoolboys are putting hours in the gym, on the field and in the classroom to train their bodies and minds to be the best at what they do. It’s a good thing that South African betting sites are prevented from releasing odds for schoolboy fixtures, as the pressure would become insurmountable for these young men.  

The truth, however, is that as South Africans we can be a little biased from time to time. While we may think that we have the most competitive schoolboy rugby scene in the world, do we really? What do the results say? Good thing that up until 2019, The Sanix World Rugby Youth Invitational determined which country had the best schoolboy rugby team in the world. 

From these results, it’s a little easier to draw conclusions surrounding which country can be crowned the best in terms of the level of schoolboy rugby. It’s no surprise that New Zealand and South Africa are high on the lists of winners, runners-up, and third and fourth-placed teams. What was interesting to see was how few Australian teams had managed to go all the way. 


If you take a look at the list of cup winners, you’ll see a different story to the one told on the sides of rugby games on crisp Saturday mornings in South Africa. Out of the 20 competitions that had been held, 9 of the final-winning teams were from New Zealand, 6 from South Africa, 2 from France, 2 from Australia and 1 from Fiji. 


Based on these results alone, South Africa is certainly one of the most competitive rugby playing nations when it comes to their schoolboys, but with New Zealand winning the title the most times (and almost winning half of the competitions), the facts tend to lean towards New Zealand being the world’s most competitive rugby playing nation for schoolboys. South African teams have done incredibly well, and our country has produced a number of teams that have reached the final, but once again, the title goes to our foes donning only black.  

Photo: @AWildeklawer/Twitter

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Juandre Joubert