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Fixtures and teams for the 2023 World Schools Festival

By Willem Louw , in Rugby | Featured Rugby | News , at 2023-12-10 Tags: ,

WorldSchoolsFestivalsThe World Schools Festival returns to the Pattana Sports Resort in Thailand for the second time under its revised format. From 12-18 December, eight teams from around the world will vie for the prestigious Cup.

This year also sees the debut of the Girls’ Sevens competition, taking place alongside the Cup and the Open tournament.

Dr EG Jansen will fly the South African flag, with a youthful team, consisting of many of the players from their u16 A side that went unbeaten in 2022. More experienced campaigners like their first-team flanker, Reon Pretorius, will provide some stability in the group as the boys from Boksburg look to make their mark on an international stage ahead of what promises to be an exciting season next year.

They begin their campaign against the renowned Eton College. Eton visited South Africa in July and recorded a 45-22 win over St Alban’s College, followed by a 19-17 victory over St John’s College. Their only loss in 2023 was at the hands of one of last year’s WSF entrants, Trinity School, who beat them by 21-14 earlier in December.

Oakdale Landbouskool from Riversdale is another contender from South Africa eyeing the top prize. With a blend of experienced players, like Craven Week centre Kurt Coetzee, and exciting young talent like their big loosehead prop, Kai Pratt, who impressed at the u16 Grant Khomo Week this year, they will be eyeing a spot for the trophy on the farm. Pratt was one of eight Oakdale players in the SWD team at the annual Youth Week.

Their initial challenge is against Wales’ Cardiff & Vale College, who will be seeking redemption after Grey College edged them out in the previous edition’s semi-finals.

Last year’s champions, Hamilton Boys’, are absent, but New Zealand is represented by Westlake Boys’ High School, who will want to emulate their fellow Kiwis. They suffered a narrow three-point loss in the National First XV Championship final against Southland Boys in September.

Westlake’s character is not in question. It’s what brought them their regional championship title, after they sneaked a heart-stopping 32-31 victory over Sacred Heart in a thrilling title-decider in August.

Westlake takes on Hartpury College from the UK on the first day. The prestigious school in Gloucestershire is among the top producers of professional players in the world. The school’s list of international players includes Welsh internationals Louis Rees Zammit, Alex Cuthbert and Ross Moriarty, and England’s Jonny May, Harry Randall, Ellis Genge and Jonny Hill. They retained their English Champions title this year but will be eager to add more silverware to their collection.

The Rugby Travel Academy (RTA) returns to replace a last-minute withdrawal and has sent two squads to Thailand this year. One will compete for the Cup while the Barbarians team plays in the Open Championship.

The Invitational Team, with players from some of the top rugby-playing schools in South Africa, will be eager to test themselves against international competition, and hope to cause a stir. The St Alban’s centre and Head Boy for 2023, Luke Sass, will have a major role to play in the squad’s success, along with the likes of Helpmekaar‘s Pieter Moller (winger) and Jaedon de Leeuw (fullback) from Midstream College.

After placing second at the WSF last year, Grey College went on to post an undefeated season in 2023, winning all of their matches, to finish the year as the undisputed number one school team in South Africa. Though they are not at this year’s competition, they will be represented by Chad Leukes and Zadian du Preez in the RTA team.

They face one of the top rugby feeder schools in Ireland, St Michael’s College. The Irish powerhouse will also be looking to improve on their performance at last year’s festival. They went down to England’s Sedbergh, sneaked a one-point win over Trinity, and then came out on the wrong side of a one-point game against Cardiff & Vale.

With only a couple of days to go before the kickoff, the excitement is tangible ahead of the end-of-year rugby bonanza.

FIXTURES (Local time = SA time +5h)

Cup
Day One, 13 December
12:15 – Dr EG Jansen (South Africa) vs Eton College (England)
13:30 – Hartpury College (England) vs Westlake Boys’ High School (New Zealand)
14:45 – St Michael’s College (Ireland) vs Rugby Travel Academy (South Africa)
16:00 – Oakdale (South Africa) vs Cardiff & Vale College (Wales)

Open League
Day One, 12 December – 13:30 – Dubai Tigers vs Southern Legion; 14:45 – Odyssey Spartans vs RTA Barbarians; 16:00 RTA Invitational vs Odyssey Knights.
Day Two, 14 December – 13:30 – Odyssey Knights vs Southern Legion; 14:45 – RTA Invitational vs Odyssey Spartans; 16:00 – Dubai Tigers vs RTA Barbarians.
Day Three, 16 December – 13:30 – Dubai Tigers vs Odyssey Spartans; 14:45 – Odyssey Knights vs RTA Invitational; 16:00 – Southern Legion vs RTA Barbarians.

Girls Sevens
Day One, 13 December –
 09:30 – Mabyangporn Wittayakhon vs Omnoi; 09:46 – Hartpury Oaks vs Odyssey; 10:02 – Thai Invitational vs NRDP Malaysia; 10:18 – Hartpury Acorns vs Omnoi; 10:34 – Thai Invitational vs Mabyangporn Wittayakhon; 10:50 – NRDP Malaysia vs Hartpury Oaks; 11:06 – Omnoi vs Odyssey; 11:22 – Hartpury Oaks vs Thai Invitational.
Day Two, 14 December – 09:15 – NRDP vs Omnoi; 09:32 – Odyssey vs Mabyangporn Wittayakhon; 09:49 – Thai Invitational vs Hartpury Acorns; 10:06 – Mabyangporn Wittayakhon vs NRDP Malaysia; 10:23 – Omnoi vs Hartpury Oaks; 10:40 – Hartpury Acorns vs Odyssey; 10:56 – Hartpury Oaks vs Mabyangporn Wittayakhon; 11:12 – Odyssey vs Thai Invitational; 11:28 – NRDP Malaysia vs Hartpury Acorns; 11:44 – Omnoi vs Thai Invitational; 12:00 – Odyssey vs NRDP Malaysia; 12:16 – Hartpury Acorns vs Hartpury Oaks.

The South African teams are:

Dr EG Jansen: 15 R-Jay Pietersen, 14 Jean-Dre Claassen, 13 Jeandré Jacobs, 12 Steven Williams, 11 Cameron van Wyk, 10 Matthew Bergman, 9 Riekus van der Merwe, 8 Zaide-Leigh Rippenaar, 7 Reon Pretorius, 6 Damian Kruger, 5 Gerhard van Aswegen, 4 Divan Francis, 3 Duwan Potgieter, 2 Danré Pike, 1 Zian Marais. Replacements: 16 Marco Ventura, 17 Deveraux Weideman, 18 Ettienne Smit, 19 Zandré Naude, 20 Dillan Williams, 21 Gordon Smith, 22 Christopher Combrink, 23 TK Ngobese, 24 JP Jooste, 25 Jacques van Tonder, 26 Ruan Rossouw.

Oakdale: 15 Waylon Kortjie, 14 Duraan Janse van Rensburg, 13 Kurt Coetzee, 12 Christiaan Vorster, 11 Lee-Winn Pretorius, 10 Warren Labuschagne, 9 Jandrian Goosen, 8 Migail Barnard, 7 Johannes Snyman, 6 Anrich Scheffer, 5 Roy Viljoen, 4 Ruan Swart, 3 Izak van Heerden, 2 Gustav van der Merwe, 1 Kai Pratt. Replacements: 16 Sinesihle Mdlankomo, 17 Siegfried Stander, 18 Tiaan Turck, 19 Liam Lightley 20 Bernard Erasmus, 21 Lohan Gerber, 22 Dewalt Jonck, 23 Charles Vosloo, 24 Reinhardt Viljoen.

Rugby Travel Academy: Jaedon de Leeuw (Midstream College), Jedri Swart (Waterkloof), Pieter Moller (Helpmekaar), Divan de Villiers (Monument), Mashile Matsebatlela (Curro Hazeldean), JJ Jonker (Lichtenburg), Mukhetwa Musundwa (Merensky), Zadian du Preez (Grey College), Chad Leukes (Grey College), Taboka Makhotboltloane (Trinity House), Janneman Benson (Hans Strydom), Cobus Erichssen (Hoërskool Nelspruit), Steflin van den Heever (Bergvlam), Kian du Plessis (Hans Strydom), Pedri van Heerden (Diamantveld), Rigert Klok (Diamantveld), Morne van Aswegen (Potchefstroom Gimnasium), Matthew Zondag (Ferrum), Ewean van Zyl (Hoërskool Nelspruit), Luke Sass (St Alban’s College), Raynard van Loggenberg (Curro Hazeldean), Marno du Plessis (Hoërskool Nelspruit), Alejandro dos Ramos (Monument).

error: Sorry ol' chap, those shenanigans are not permissible.