Hermanus High School first team rugby players, Tarek Smith (grade 11), Tiaan Hechter and SJ Herholdt (grade 12) had the honour of participating in the second annual World Schools Rugby Festival (WSRF) which took place from 25 – 30 March at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch.

Tiaan Hechter, Tarek Smith and SJ Herholdt proudly wearing the jackets they received at the World Schools Rugby Festival.

The festival invited the best schoolboy rugby players in the world to participate. Ten teams that represented Team SA competed against ten teams from Team Rest of the World. The festival started with a teambuilding day on 25 March and the matches ran from 26 – 30 March. There were five matches played on each day, meaning that each team played two matches in the festival. For each match a team won, they received two points for their side (Team SA or Team Rest of the World).

Players for the event were scouted by the festival organisers from the start of the year at school rugby games. It was at Oakdale Rugby Week from 16 – 20 March that Tarek, Tiaan and SJ were told by their Hermanus High coaches that they had been selected to play in the WSRF – if they wanted to participate.

Tarek, Tiaan and SJ were eager to go and were put into team Africa Pacific Dragons, with players from New Zealand and parts of South Africa. “We were taught how to do the haka and we performed it before each match. It really amped us up and intimidated the opposing teams,” said Tiaan. Tarek also played for World Schools Select XV, who were short on players for their team. The coaches for each of the teams consisted of a mix of people from all over the world, just as the team members were. Africa Pacific Dragons had coaches from Paul Roos Gymnasium, Grabouw, New Zealand and Noordheuwel.

The three Hermies stayed in the Paul Roos hostels during the festival and met boys from all over South Africa and the globe, including England, Italy, America and New Zealand. They said they enjoyed showing the boys around and teaching the foreign players some Afrikaans words.

They all agreed that it was an unforgettable experience and said any schoolboy who is chosen to play, should grab the opportunity with both hands. They not only learned a lot, but also made many memories that will last a lifetime.

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