Cape Town - An unmitigated passion for the game and youthful flair will be on display when top local and international teams clash at the inaugural World Schools Festival in Paarl between April 2-7.
The draw for the schoolboy showcase was announced on Wednesday, while tickets for the week-long festival went on sale at Computicket on the same day.
The tournament will feature the top 10 schools in South Africa and 10 of the best schoolboy teams from around the world and will form part of Paarl Boys' High School's 150-year anniversary celebrations.
Former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, who is the managing director of Carinat Sports Marketing, said sports fans will be in for a rugby treat during the festival.
“The draw will see some of the world’s best schoolboy teams go up against each other in the heart of one of most rugby-regions in South Africa,” Meyer said.
“The festival promises a treat for any rugby enthusiasts where the matches will see a clash of styles and a good dollop of unbridled flair characteristically seen at this level.”
Giving it a truly international flavour, 10 teams from five continents featuring sides from New Zealand, England, Italy, the United States, Australia, Namibia and Argentina will make their appearance at the festival.
Adding more excitement to the tournament and promoting camaraderie across different nations, is 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 and Fiji. The festival will mark the first time the Dragons will be selected at schoolboy level.
Representing some of the best rugby schools in South Africa, the top-10 local teams are Affies, Boland Landbou, Glenwood, Monument, Grey College, Outeniqua, Oakdale, Paarl Gymnasium, Hilton College and hosts Paarl Boys' High School.
The festival consists of four match days with five mouth-watering encounters scheduled for each day on Tuesday (April 2), Wednesday (April 3), Friday (April 6) and on Saturday (April 7).
The tournament will kick-off with the old rivalry between South Africa and New Zealand renewed at schoolboy level with Boland Landbou taking on Napier Boys’ High.
Loftus Versfeld’s one and only "Liefling" and former Springbok flyhalf Derick Hougaard hails from Landbou while Napier has Zac Guildford amongst their famous alumni.
Boishaai, who have produced 20 Springbok players to date, will get their 150-year celebrations underway against Argentina’s Jaguares on Day 2.
The final match of the second day of the tournament will have any rugby fan rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of Bloemfontein’s Grey College taking on Christchurch Boys’ High School of New Zealand.
The two schools are the pre-eminent feeder schools to their respective national sides with Grey College contributing a whopping 45 players to the Springbok side since 1896.
Christchurch Boys’ High School has produced All Blacks players such as Dan Carter, Ben and Owen Franks, Anton Lienert-Brown and Andrew Mehrtens.
The final day of the tournament will culminate in a match between the SA Legends and Boishaai Legends which will see past heroes bring the curtain down in style.
The festival will promote the traditional values of the sport forging relationships across continents through the shared love of rugby.
- Tickets for the Paarl showcase can be purchased at www.computicket.com or at the gates.
Prices vary from R55 for adults, R35 for school pupils between the ages of 10 and 18, and children under the age of 10 are charged R15 per person per day. Four-day rugby passes are priced at R190, R110 and R35 for adults, school pupils and children respectively.