Come and play SA's best‚ Heyneke Meyer tells world's top rugby schools
Former Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is wooing the world’s top school rugby teams to South Africa.
Heyneke‚ managing director of Hong Kong-based Carinat Sports Marketing‚ wants to pit them against South Africa’s top 10 rugby schools in April at Paarl Boys High School‚ which marks its 150th anniversary in 2018.
Paarl has been South Africa’s top rugby school for the past three years‚ and Heyneke has teamed up with it to host the World Schools Festival.
In a letter to top rugby schools in New Zealand‚ Meyer says: “We would like to extend an invitation to your team to come play in this‚ what might soon become the world’s strongest international school competition.”
The former Bok coach told the New Zealand Herald: “It’s always been my dream to have a top world schools tournament in South Africa.
“I’ve spoken to the top 10 schools in South Africa and they are all very keen because this has not been done.
"If I can get 10 schools from abroad it will be our best against the world’s best. For me it’s about building bridges‚ meeting guys and giving back.”
Twenty-five New Zealand schools have been invited to the April 2-8 tournament and Meyer hopes three will accept.
Teams from Fiji‚ Tonga‚ Japan‚ Namibia‚ Zimbabwe‚ Georgia‚ England‚ Ireland and France have also been invited.
Activities for the schoolboys‚ apart from two matches each‚ will include talks from former Springbok captains Jean de Villiers‚ Victor Matfield and John Smit; training sessions with specialist coaches; and tourist excursions.
“Usually at tournaments in South Africa they just play games and that’s the end of it‚” Meyer said.
“I’m going to try and get a few top New Zealand and South Africans to upskill the coaches. It will be a festival of rugby.”
Ryan Martin‚ the rugby coach at Otago Boys’ High School — which produced Rugby World Cup-winning All Black captain Richie McCaw — told the Herald: “For us‚ it’s a bit of a no-brainer in terms of facing some of the best teams in the world.
“It looks like it has been well organised. It will be pretty special to access this level of rugby and I know when Paarl Boys' came out here this year they lost to Christchurch Boys' but they smashed everyone else so it will give you a bit of a benchmark.”