Nine of the ten teams participating at the 2019 World Schools Festival at Paul Roos Gymnasium have been revealed, with four of the sides hailing from the world’s number-one ranked country in rugby – New Zealand.
Five different nations will be represented in the Rest of the World contingent, while an Africa Pacific Select XV, a Barbarians-style outfit coached by some of the world’s best talent, will make their second appearance at the tournament.
The Africa Pacific Select XV, along with Christchurch Boys High School and Napier Boys High School from New Zealand, Hartpury College from England and the New South Wales Cavaliers from Australia will all be returning in 2019, while five teams will be making their debut next year.
The participating Rest of the World teams are:
Christchurch Boys’ High School, Napier Boys’ High School, Hartpury College, Africa Pacific Select XV, Southland Boys’ High School (New Zealand), John McClashan (New Zealand), New South Wales Cavaliers (Australia), USA Schools XV (USA), Italian All Stars XV (Italy).
Christchurch Boys’ High School is one of the leading sporting schools in New Zealand and have produced 46 All Blacks, including the likes of Daniel Carter and Owen Franks. The school, currently ranked 4th in the New Zealand rugby rankings, suffered losses to Grey College and Paarl Boys’ High in 2018, and are eager to make amends in 2019.
“It is a fantastic tournament where we were really looked after,” said Reece Archibald, head coach of the first XV in 2018. “Everyone was so friendly, it was incredibly well-organised, and it is an outstanding opportunity for the boys.”
New Zealand’s second-ranked school team, Napier Boys’ High, also failed to register a win in 2018, losing to Boland Landbou and Monument High School. The school has twelve All Blacks in their alumni, and the first XV’s head coach Brendon Ratcliffe said that the team couldn’t wait to return to the winelands region of South Africa.
“It is the home of secondary school rugby in the world, and we feel extremely privileged to be participating.”
England’s Hartpury College, who are a feeder team for the club Gloucester, where former Springbok Johan Ackermann is head coach, were one of the most impressive outfits at the 2018 tournament. They defeated Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Affies) 26-15, before going down to Grey College on the final day.
“We produced eleven schoolboy internationals last season and we wanted to be tested by the best, and what better way to test the players than in South Africa?” said Wayne Thompson, head coach of the team. “To be tested, you have to travel and experience different cultures, and this tournament offers exactly that.
Invercargill-based Southland Boys’ High School, who defeated fellow World Schools Festival competitor John McGlashan College in this year’s regional school rugby semi-final in Dunedin, have produced 22 All Blacks, their most notable being 100-cap superstar Mils Muliaina. John McGlashan meanwhile is the alma mater of former All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore, who played 83 Tests for his country.
The USA and Italy will be sending through squads comprised of their best schoolboy talent, with international rugby consultant Hein Kriek taking charge of the American side. Former player Polla Roux, who coached an Italian side at the 2018 tournament, described the World Schools rugby Festival as a great event.
“To experience a new culture and measure yourself against the best in the world, and above all in a beautiful rugby-crazy country, is an unforgettable experience which no-one can ever take away from you.”
The New South Wales Cavaliers, who suffered losses to Monument High School and Boland Landbou, will be eager to redeem themselves in 2019, as will the Africa Pacific Select XV, who were defeated by Hilton College and Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool. The Africa Pacific Select XV will be far stronger in 2019 however, as they’ll be comprised of talent from some of New Zealand’s top schools, including Kelston Boys’ High School, Wesley College and Hastings Boys’ High School.
A tenth team will be revealed in due course, as the Rest of the World sides look to improve on their 2018 record in the tournament. The South African teams dominated matters in the Ryder Cup style format, winning eighteen of the twenty matches played.
The ten South African teams competing at the 2019 World Schools Festival are:
Paul Roos Gimnasium, Affies, Boland Landbou, Glenwood, Grey College, Hilton College, Monument, SACS, Paarl Gimnasium, Invitation XV.