Well Theo Garrun has made his thoughts clear. He hasn’t been impressed and even poses a moral compass question or two. You can read it here: http://theogarrun.blogspot.com/2018/04/world-schools-festival-hasnt-been-much.html
The one-sided nature of many of the matches inspired a lot of negative comments during the course of the week. On average the winning teams beat the losing ones by almost 40-points, which is a huge gap.
It didn’t help that in the marketing media release clearly stated : “…10 of the best schools from around the globe.” which clearly wasn’t the case. Not helping was that two big name teams Hamilton BHS and Otago BHS dropped out along the way.
Then people took swipes at the quality of the lighting and even the field conditions which required sawdust.
Other than that it seems like it all went down very well.
Importantly the Boishaai fraternity who were celebrating their 150th birthday all seemed to have a good time and shared their support for the initiative.
Was there a change of tune once it became obvious that ten of the best South African schools versus weak ones wasn’t going to make for good memories of tight hard-fought wins, yeah perhaps? If there was “re-branding” or “damage control”, it certainly didn’t damper the popularity of the occasion.
Fledging festivals are extremely had to get right the first time around. Just research the humble beginnings of Noord-Suid compared where that festival is now. The safe route would have been to do something like Paul Roos or Durban High School’s very popular one off rugby days for their respective recent 150ths.
Hats off to them, the Boishaai festival was something unique. A few schools got to face Hakas while others watched it as part of the entertainment.
The event costs big bucks but computicket sales were in the region of 21 000 tickets solds for the four days, including that sell out final day of 9500, which no doubt created an amazing atmosphere at the Brug Street ground.
For those who couldn’t get to the ground, the streaming quality and the commentary was generally of a very high standard.
In large it was thanks to the sponsors that were brought on board – those being getting these funds have to be complimented.
Paarl Boy’s High signed up to host the WSF for two more years.
Next year’s event will take place from 24-29 March, so it will be during the school holidays but will not clash with the older Easter Festival rugby in 2019.
Interestingly the venue for next year’s event is yet to be confirmed – perhaps pointing to organisers thinking a long the lines of bigger and better? Brug Street may be too small?
The certainly is more time to lock in overseas school now.
However the challenges to introduce competitive teams won’t go away.
New Zealand are really the only country who can put out worthy under-18 level competition in the form of school teams. England have a few good ones too. School teams from the rest of the world will struggle to go 70-minutes with our local schools and come away with a respectable scoreline.
Although all costs are taken care of once they arrive on SA shores, visiting teams still have to pay for their own flights. There’s a good reason why Saffa schools don’t make a habit of touring New Zealand and vice versa. It’s a logistical nightmare and costs an arm and a leg.
Then there’s an even bigger headache. New Zealand schools start their rugby season later than their SA counterparts.Napier’s New Zealand coach hinted that his team had had only four training sessions ahead of their first game, due to summer sports taking precedence. Hardly ideal compared to the sophisticated and well-established off-season training routines implemented in SA, which see players having as much as 5-months under the belt plus a handful of actual matches by the end of March.
In England, the top players are involved in under-18 internationals at around about Easter time, which could effect their availability to tour.