The second-ever World Schools Festival came to a highly entertaining end as the fourth and final day produced a host of exciting matches that thrilled the large crowd in attendance at the Markotter field at Paul Roos. The festival, which is a celebration of schoolboy rugby, lived up to its ethos as sides from far and wide delivered a number of outstanding performances that will live long in the memory.
16:30 Paul Roos 62-7 Napier (NZ)
Napier must be the best International team at the festival but Paul Roos could claim the same title for the South African schools, therefore, a reasonably relaxed win for Paul Roos with maybe 30-40 points.
The most eagerly awaited contest was undoubted that between hosts Paul Roos Gymnasium and Napier Boys’ High from New Zealand. The home side looked like a well-oiled machine in their first outing, when they blew away fellow Kiwi outfit Southland Boys’ High School on Wednesday, but faced a far more challenging foe in Napier, who lost by just five points to Boland Landbou in their opening game.
While Napier looked capable of causing a massive upset, Paul Roos began to slowly take control of the encounter, scoring three first-half tries through Robbie Rogers, Meiring Ebersohn and Luke Burger as they went into the break 17-0 up. The home team completely dominated matters after the restart, scoring a further seven five-pointers, with Burger sealing his hattrick, as they wrapped up the tournament with a memorable 62-7 victory to underline their status as one of the best schoolboy teams on the planet.
15:00 Affies 31-31 Christchurch Boys
This could just be the match of the day. Affies who played their 2ndXV against the Italian All Stars should be on full strength and looking to run the defence of Christchurch to pieces. Christchurch made the fatal mistake to try and beat Grey College (26-73) in an open and running game would have learnt their lesson and should make it slow and keep it up front for the entire match. Affies should win but not with a margin as big as Grey won with against Christchurch, not even close. I expect a small win for Affies with not more than 15 points.
Christchurch scored the first try of the match within 10 minutes after the start of the game and continue to dominate proceedings on the field. The difference between the two teams up to half time was the level of urgency shown by the teams. Christchurch leading 17-5 at half time. Christchurch, with 20 minutes left on the clock allowed Affies to score two tries in quick succession that levelled the score on 24-24 but immediately started to apply pressure forcing Affies to make a lot of mistakes. Affies did manage to score a converted try in the last seconds of the game to level the scores again but they were outwitted, outmuscled and out-everythingend.
I was asked not to be over critical towards Affies, so here goes, Affies have some of the most talented players .................
Christchurch Boys’ High were looking to redeem themselves after going down to Grey College when they took on another South African powerhouse in Affies. The New Zealanders were first to strike, crossing the chalk through left winger Jake Walley. While Affies hit back quickly, their comeback was fleeting, as Christchurch scored two more tries to go into the break well ahead.
Christchurch looked to have done enough as they opened up a convincing 24-10 lead late in the second half, but the Pretoria outfit refused to quit, scoring two quick tries to level the scores with mere minutes left on the clock. It was then Christchurch’s turn to mount a comeback, as Clayden Paranihi put his team back in front with a converted try at the death. They looked to be on the brink of a famous win, but Affies had other ideas, as livewire scrumhalf Michael van Aswegen scored his second try of the game after the hooter to leave fullback Dieter Crafford with a difficult conversion attempt to draw his side level. The rangy kicker curled the ball millimetres inside of the upright, as the teams played out to a sensational 31-all draw.
Christchurch Boys’ coach Rhys Archibald, while understandably disappointed that his side had let the win slip from their grasp, admitted that the draw was a fair reflection of the match.
13:30 Grey College 54-00 Southland Boys (NZ)
One way traffic with the first 100 of this festival is a bit more than just a possibility.
The sins of the Grey Boys turned my prediction on its head. With only a 21-0 lead at half time and John McGlashan still positive in their play, attacking Grey with a physical game. The second half Grey scored another 5 tries to win 54-00 but although the score might suggest a thrashing it certainly was not.
Southland Boys’ were widely expected to be cannon fodder when they went up against the boys from Grey College, who hadn’t tasted defeat since going down to Selborne College in May 2017. The New Zealanders however put up an impressive fight, and went into half time having conceded only three tries. Grey pulled away after the break, dotting down for a further five tries, but the tourists had by no means disgraced themselves, with big Number 8 Arese Poliko named man of the match following a very good performance.
12:30 Hilton College 34-15 Italian All Stars
Hilton College had an easy win against USA Schools (43-0) but will not have such an easy match today. The Italian All Stars lost to an almost 2ndXV from Affies (36-12) but one does expect a better performance from them today. Hilton to win with maybe a scare in the first 50 minutes.
Not even a scare with Hilton scoring on regularly to lead 22-3 at half time. The second half saw the Italians playing a more forward-based game and clawed 14 points back to narrow the gap to 15-27 with 20 minutes gone in the second half. Hilton scored a try in the final seconds of the game to win 34-15 against a trying and improving Italian All Stars team.
Joshua Cox shone for Hilton College when they took on the Italian All-Stars in an evenly contested encounter. The left winger was the difference between the two sides, scoring a hattrick of tries to secure the boys from KwaZulu-Natal a hard-fought 34-15 win. The Italians were full value for their points, with man of the match Giovanni Montemauri scoring one of his team’s two tries.
10:30 Boland Landbou 71-3 USA Schools
Considering that Boland Lanbou had a great win against Napier (30-25) and USA Schools got beaten by Hilton (0-43) this first match on the final day will be one-way traffic. A WIN for Boland Landbou.
And happened, it did.
The opening match of the day saw Boland Landbou face the USA Schools XV. The Americans showed plenty of heart, but the South Africans were simply too good. They ran in eleven tries, with Jacques Mostert, Canan Moodie and Keanan Wentzel all getting a brace, as Boland Landbou secured an emphatic 71-3 victory.