The South African, New Zealand and England participants for next year’s World Schools Festival at Paarl Boys’ High have been confirmed.
The festival, which is the brainchild of former Bok coach Heyneke Meyer, will form part of Boishaai’s 150th anniversary celebrations. It is scheduled to take place from 2-8 April 2018.
According to schoolofrugby.co.za, the 10 South African schools taking part will be the hosts, Paarl Gym, Paul Roos, Grey College, Affies, Monument, Boland Landbou, Outeniqua, Oakdale Landbou and Glenwood.
New Zealand will be represented by Hamilton Boys’ High, Christchurch Boys’ High, Otago Boys’ High and Napier Boys’ High.
There will also be two teams from England – Hartpury College and Millfield School – a combined team from Africa and the Pacific Islands, a French team, a regional team from Mendoza in Argentina, and a regional team from either Italy or the USA.
SARugbymag.co.za understands that the 20 teams will be divided into five pools, with the pool winners and best three runners-up qualifying for the quarter-finals.
‘It’s something that we as an institution have looked forward to doing for a long time,’ Paarl Boys’ High’s Sean Erasmus said in the latest issue of SA Rugby magazine. ‘And what better way to celebrate the school’s 150th than with a festival of this nature?
‘When we toured New Zealand earlier this year, there was definitely a feeling among the teams that we needed to measure ourselves against each other regularly. This tournament will allow that to happen.
‘The most exciting part for me is that South African schools are going to band together against the rest of the world. We usually go head to head, but would be side by side in a tournament like this.’
Meyer said he was excited to be adding something new to the schools landscape.
‘The aim is to groom the next generation of players, while providing dedicated rugby fans with a different kind of entertainment. It’s a celebration of age-grade rugby by building up an international network.’