• SA sides get four from five
• World Select XV bag another victory
• Festival to end with Paul Roos vs Napier Boys’
The spirit of rugby was alive and well on the third and penultimate day of the World Schools Festival at Paul Roos Gymnasium. While the South African sides once again won the majority of the games, each match was followed by the same repeated scene: opponents locked arm in arm while circled in the centre of the beautiful Markotter field, as they celebrated taking part in an event that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
The day culminated in a battle between Monument and New Zealanders John McGlashan, who impressed in the opening match of the tournament when they went down to Glenwood.
The foreign outfit, who a day earlier visited the Cornal Hendricks Foundation in Wellington, took plenty of heart from their meeting with the underprivileged young rugby players, and looked capable of pulling off an upset during the early stages of the clash.
Monument however were fully prepared for a tough physical onslaught, and as their forwards dealt with the big Kiwi pack, the backs were allowed to run, with fullback Herschelle Goodman particularly impressive. The speedster scored three tries as his side romped to a good 48-10 victory.
In arguably the most eagerly awaited match of the day, Paarl Gimnasium faced English side Hartpury, who were still smarting from their loss to Monument on Tuesday. Hartpury put up a strong showing in the first half, crossing the chalk twice while also conceding two tries, as the teams went into the break deadlocked at 12-12.
Paarl Gimnasium was a different team after the break however, and dominated matters from thereon in. The South Africans scored a further four tries, with two going the way of star winger Stravino Jacobs, while man of the match Stephan du Toit also ended with a brace, as they secured a 41 – 12 victory.
Glenwood showed their class as they defeated the Africa Pacific Dragons in a hard-fought encounter. The Durban boys, who enjoyed an unbeaten season in 2018, continued their terrific form with a dogged performance against a side made up of a mixture of New Zealand and South African players. Glenwood’s Nico Steyn stood out once again, scoring two five-pointers to take his tournament tally to four, as his team won 33-10.
Giant flanker Jarrod Taylor stole the show when SACS faced-off against the World Select XV. The man from Selbourne showed why he was selected for the 2018 SA Schools side and looked almost unstoppable at times, scoring a hattrick of tries to secure the World Select XV a deserved 25 – 15 victory – their second of the tournament.
Blitzbok star Kyle Brown, a SACS old boy, paid a visit to the festival to watch his former team play, and was thoroughly impressed by the experience. “This is an exceptional tournament and one that will just get bigger and bigger” said the 32-year-old. “I’m disappointed that SACS couldn’t pull off a win, but they showed plenty of heart against an extremely big and talented side.”
The day’s opening fixture proved to be a nail biter as the Western Province Invitational outfit took on the Zambezi Steelers from Zimbabwe. Both sides showed a willingness to run the ball, but a number of handling errors prevented the game from delivering even more points, as the local side held on for a hard-fought 33-30 victory.
Plenty of fans are expected to attend the final day of the festival, as hosts Paul Roos go up against Napier Boys’ High School – arguably the most impressive of the New Zealand teams on display – in the last match on Saturday.
The meeting will be preceded by a host of other key clashes, as the ever-popular Affies go up against the powerful Christchurch Boys’ High School from New Zealand, who will be looking to bounce back from their earlier loss to Grey College. The boys from Bloemfontein meanwhile take on another Kiwi side in Southland Boys’ High, while Hilton face a rapidly improving Italian All-Stars team. The day’s opening match will see Boland Landbou, who narrowly defeated Napier Boys’ High, take on the best that USA has to offer.
The festival will also feature an Old Boys competition to be played at the Markotter Stadium, on the field adjacent to the main one. Former scholars of Affies and Paarl Gimnasium will face-off, followed by clashes between the old legends of Paarl Boys High and Hilton, as well as Paul Roos and Grey College.