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RugbyPass named lead media partner for World Schools Festival 2022

By Tom Parker

RugbyPass will be the official media partner of the World Schools Festival which takes place in Thailand this year from December 11-18. The festival’s main cup will feature eight of the top age-grade rugby sides in the world as they battle it out to see who can be named the strongest schoolboy rugby side on the planet. An open tournament will also feature four invitational sides from around the globe.

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Rugby fans will be able to watch all the live coverage and highlights of the festival on the RugbyPass‘ YouTube channel. The announcement as the official media partner for the festival reflects RugbyPass‘ desire to grow interest in rugby for the next generation.

The Pattana Sports Resort in Thailand is the destination for the festival, offering the perfect location for the teams to prepare and play in this elite competition. Excitement is growing as stellar names in the schoolboy rugby sphere are announced.

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The teams that have thrown their hat in so far include…

Sedbergh School (England)
Many would call Sedbergh the best rugby school in England with Will Greenwood, Will Carling and Tomas Francis all attending the school before going on to enjoy reputable international careers. The boys in brown have been one of the most dominant sides on the English schoolboy rugby circuit for decades and they went unbeaten in 2018, beating top sides such as Wellington.

Sedbergh pounce for a try

Their recent one-point victory over elite Irish outfit Blackrock College further demonstrated how much respect the Cumbrian side should command when it comes to the festival in December. Sedbergh director of rugby Simon Mulholland said: “This is a fantastic new event for schools to showcase the very best of school rugby.

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“We are incredibly proud and excited to be part of such a great line-up of schools from around the world. It’s going to be a truly unique week for everyone. The tournament is ground-breaking and as a rugby experience it will give our players lifelong memories of representing the school.”

Hamilton Boys’ High (New Zealand)
First XV champions Hamilton are without a doubt one of the best age-grade rugby sides in the world. The Waikato school, which saw Warren Gatland and Sean Maitland pass through its storied corridors, have brought many All Blacks players through its ranks. They also boast some up-and-coming stars that everyone should keep their eye on such as Payton Spencer, the son of the legendary Carlos.

The school was the subject of the highly successful fifth series of The Season, the documentary that intimately followed the team in 2019 when they sought to win the Super 8 title. Hamilton will be highly fancied by many to win the cup competition given their recent success domestically.

Grey College (South Africa)
Grey has for decades been portrayed as a behemoth within global schoolboy rugby, producing 46 Springboks – including World Cup winners Frans Steyn and Bismarck du Plessis. Playing in their iconic grey jersey with a hint of orange, the school has earned a name for its ruthless style of play.

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Over the past decade, they have enjoyed four unbeaten seasons, further conveying just how dominant this rugby side is. At the World Schools Festival in 2019, Grey swatted aside all-comers and this group shall travel to this latest festival with a weight of expectation on them to impress.

St Michael’s College (Ireland) 
The Dublin-based college have long been admired for the quality of rugby player that the school has produced, and Ireland’s brilliant schools system has been credited with helping the Andy Farrell Test team to its current No1 ranking in the world.

Modern Irish rugby internationals such as Dan Leavy, James Ryan, Ross Byrne and Ronan Kelleher were just some of the players that have come through the ranks at the college. Leinster schools cup titles in 2012 and 2019 further illustrate the pedigree of their rugby production line.

Millfield School (England)
The men in red, green and blue have time and time again proved themselves to be trendsetters in England, with notable alumni including Chris Robshaw and Gareth Edwards. They enjoyed an unbeaten season in the 2020/2021 season and there will be fevered speculation about how well they will perform in the competition in Thailand.

Director of Rugby John Mallett had this to say about the school taking part in the competition: “Rugby is not only about competing hard on the field, but also making friendships for life off the field. We are very excited to be playing in a new competition and format alongside some of the very best rugby-playing schools in the world. It is truly a unique and ground-breaking tournament and will definitely showcase schools rugby.”

The final three sides that will take part in the festival will be announced in the coming weeks.

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