Paarl Boys’ High, or just Paarl Boishaai as they are known in South Africa, will host what is probably the biggest school rugby festival seen on Planet Earth from 2 to 7 April next year in the picturesque town at the base of Paarl Rock.
The rugby festival is the brain child of Boishaai’s first XV coach, Sean Erasmus, and will be one of the biggest highlights during the school’s 150th celebrations.
Boishaai’s first XV hasn’t lost a match in South Africa for the last three years. This amazing run span over 53 matches from the start of the 2015 season. The only blemish on their record in their last 57 outings on a rugby field came earlier this year against Christchurch Boys’ High (38-36) during their four-match tour of New Zealand.
Of the 20 teams that will partake in Boishaai’s Rugby Festival, six have been crowned champions of the annual Sanix Youth International tournament in Japan. In fact, nine of the 18 titles since the inaugural tournament in 2000 were won by schools which will play in the festival. Hamilton Boys’ High (2010, 2011, 2014), Christchurch Boys’ High (2005, 2006), Paul Roos Gimnasium (2015), Grey College (2001), Boland Landbou (2002) and Glenwood (2016).
The ten South African teams that will attend the festival is Paarl Boishaai, Paarl Gimnasium, Paul Roos Gimnasium from Stellenbosch, Grey College, Affies from Pretoria, Monument from Krugersdorp, Boland Landbou, Outeniqua from George, Oakdale Landbou from Riversdal and Glenwood.
The four sides from New Zealand that will attend the festival are rugby royalty. Hamilton Boys’ High, Christchurch Boys’ High, Otago Boys’ High and Napier Boys’ High all have strong rugby traditions.
Hamilton Boys’ High have won the Sanix Youth International tournament more times than any other school in the world by being crowned champions three times (2010, 2011 and 2014). They defeated Paarl Boys’ High in the final of the 2014 edition of the tournament in Japan by 15-11.
It can be expected that when the fixtures for next year’s tournament in Paarl are released that Paarl Boishaai and Hamilton Boys’ High will have a date with each other. All Blacks who attended Hamilton Boys’ High include Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Warren Gatland and Scott McLeod. The school boasts a total of almost 2400 pupils (just boys).
Christchurch Boys’ High is only second to Auckland Grammar on the list of schools which produced the most All Blacks over the years. The school from Christchurch has produced 46 All Blacks to date which includes Dan Carter, Richard Loe, Ben and Owen Franks, Bob Deans, Aaron and Nathan Mauger, Andrew Mehrtens, Brodie Rettallick, Matt Todd and Adam Thomson. As well as All Black coach Steve Hansen and his predecessor, Graham Henry.
Christchurch Boys’ High have won the Sanix Youth International tournament twice, back in 2005 and 2006.
Otago Boys’ High from Dunedin produced notable All Blacks like Richie McCaw, Wyatt Crockett and Byron Kelleher.
Napier Boys’ High produced All Blacks like Zac Guildford, Richard Turner and Greg Somerville. The latter also played some school rugby for Dale College from King William’s Town as an exchange student back in 1995.
The other six overseas teams are Hartpury College (England), Millfield School (England), a Combined team from Africa and the Pacific Islands, a French team that still has to be confirmed, a regional team from Mendoza (Argentina) and a regional team from either Italy or the United States of America.
Former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is assisting Paarl Boishaai with the festival. Boishaai will also host the prestigious Coca-Cola Craven Week for High Schools as well as the Coca-Cola Academy Week next year as part of their celebrations.