Sean Erasmus’ long time goal and initiative will finally be taking fruition this year as the teams have been confirmed for the first World Schools Festival to be hosted at Paarl Boys High, in not only a celebration of 150 years of excellence at the school, but a celebration of talent and rugby worldwide, as ten teams from five continents will be taking part.
The festival includes some big name sides from South Africa and New Zealand but is also inclusive of a Namibian and African-Pacific XV in a movement to growing the game in Africa, outside of purely South Africa.
The official release as per Sean Erasmus and Paarl Boys High:
An impressive list of international teams will be in action at the inaugural World Schools Festival that will take place in Paarl between 2-7 April 2018.
The tournament that will feature the top 10 schools in South Africa and 10 of the best school teams from around the world will form part of Paarl Boys’ High School’s 150-year anniversary celebrations.
Considered to be the incubators of future international stars, the schoolboy teams boast some of the past legends of the global game.
Ten teams from five continents with sides from New Zealand, England, Italy, the United States, Australia, Namibia, and Argentina have been confirmed for the tournament.
Carinat Sports Marketing Managing Director Heyneke Meyer believes the tournament will be a catalyst for growing future talent.
“What is great for the first tournament is that we have a wide spectrum of quality teams from around the world. We have teams from Argentina right through to Australia, England, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand,” Meyer said.
“It will really test our strength thanks to the incredible line-up of teams coming to South Africa, so I am very excited about the quality of the sides.”
The World Schools Festival will see some of the most promising schoolboy talents on display which will include South African teams such as Affies, Boland Landbou, Glenwood, Monument, Grey College, Outeniqua, Oakdale, Paarl Gymnasium and Hilton College.
Paarl Boys’ High Headmaster, Mr Derek Swart said the festival was not only an opportunity to expose the schoolboys to different styles of rugby, but also teach them about other cultures.
“We look forward to welcoming some of the world’s top schoolboy rugby players to our shores and show them some good old fashioned South African hospitality,” Mr Swart said
“We are thrilled to be celebrating a milestone in our school’s history by hosting this world-class rugby festival as part of our 150-year festivities. Rugby is a big part of our heritage, and what a more fitting way than to celebrate our 150th by showcasing the true Spirit of Rugby,” added Mr Swart
Some of the international schools boast a pedigree second to none considering the alumni who have graced their school halls and training fields.
Christchurch Boys’ High School of New Zealand has produced All Blacks players such as Dan Carter, Ben and Owen Franks, Anton Lienert-Brown and Andrew Mehrtens.
The school’s famous Old Boys are not only limited to players, but also include legendary All Blacks coaches Graham Henry and Steven Hansen.
The Cavaliers rugby team will represent Australia at the festival with the squad consisting of players from the ACT Brumbies, and NSW Waratahs among others.
Rhinos Rugby School of Irvine, California and Saint Ignatius High School will be the two teams from the United States.
“It is also about giving teams an opportunity which emphasises the idea of a Festival of Rugby,” Meyer said.
“It is great to have teams from the United States because we also want to grow the game worldwide.
“America is a sleeping giant and they will increasingly become more professional. With South African Gary Gold (USA Rugby head coach) involved there, it is really great to have two teams from the United States coming to our rugby festival.”
Adding more local flavour to the tournament and promoting camaraderie across different nations, an Africa Pacific Select XV that will be made up of players from South Africa and the Pacific Islands. The team includes schoolboys from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and Dubai.
The festival will mark the first time the Dragons will be selected at schoolboy level.
Representing one of the Home Nations, Hartpury College of England have been invited to showcase their talent during the week-long festival.
Hartpury College is one of the feeder schools to Premiership team Gloucester which is coached by South African mentor Johan Ackermann.
Ross Moriarty and Alex Cuthbert, who were part of the 2017 British & Irish Lions are among their famous Old Boys.
An Italian select team that consists of players from Rugby Rovigo, Petrarca rugby and Val
“We’ve wanted to have representation from around the world, and although we could have invited three New Zealand teams we wanted to give it a truly global flavour,” Meyer said.
“We have teams from almost every single continent and I am excited to see how our teams compare against the rest of the world.”
The festival will promote the traditional values of the sport forging relationships across continents through the shared love of rugby.
International schoolboy teams:
Christchurch Boys’ High School (New Zealand)
Africa Pacific Select XV
Rhinos Rugby School (United States)
Saint Ignatius High (United States)
Cavaliers Rugby (Australia)
Hartpury College (England)
Italian Select XV
The Namibian Rugby Union
Unión Argentina de Rugby
Napier Boys’ High School (New Zealand)