School rugby enthusiasts since we can remember have always tried to compare their rugby program to others. Within individual nations a simple head to head is done in order to determine who the king of hill is so to speak, but complexity arises when comparing international programs.
We never shy away from taking the lead in such matters, our rankings often cause controversy but most importantly what they do is start a conversation. If rugby is to grow into a truly global sport then support at the grassroots level is where it begins and ends!
With time we have managed to build easily the most detailed database in grassroots rugby with virtually every international at senior level, under 20 level and under 18 level accounted for from the nations of South Africa, England, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. The Welsh and Scottish schools have not been forgotten and once we have our databases complete they will certainly be added to the list.
This level of detail has taken many years and many hours of work to complete, naturally there may be senior internationals missing from the early days of rugby and our scoring system will account for an additional names and schools we may have been unable to find ourselves. We love to be corrected as it only increases our own knowledge of the game so if there is an international whose school we missed just drop us a message and we can update the scoring accordingly.
All stats are from the inception of the game to the end of 2019, due to the situation Australia for example have named no under 18 national team in 2020 or 2021. Our scoring system will have slight changes for the 2021 season which will be explained below.
As we gather more information we will add more schools, for now there are a total of 115 schools represented on the list which we believe represented a more than credible sample.
Our scoring system 5 key performance areas namely:
1)Senior Internationals Produced
Not all nations are created equal on the rugby field and thus we looked at national head to heads to determine the amount of points awarded per international produced. The scoring for this section is as follows:
New Zealand: 10 points
South Africa: 9.8 points
Australia: 9.6 points
England: 9.6 points
Ireland: 9.5 points
From 2022 onwards points will be awarded according to the teams end of year ranking as per the IRB official rankings:
1st: 10 points
2nd: 9.8 points
3rd: 9.6 points
4th: 9.4 points
5th: 9.2 points
Below: 9 points
2)U20 Internationals Produced
The Under 20 international points are awarded purely on the performances of each year. Points are awarded as follows:
Champions: 4 points
Runners Up: 3.8 points
Third Place: 3.7 points
Fourth Place: 3.6 points
Fifth Place: 3.5 points
The above points system will remain in place for the 2022 season.
To view each nations list of Under 20 Internationals click a country below:
3)U18 Internationals Produced
We measured the relative strength of school rugby programs based on personal opinion as well as historical results to determine a scoring system.
Points are awarded as follows:
New Zealand: 3 points
South Africa: 3 points
England: 2.8 points
Australia: 2.7 points
Ireland: 2.6 points
The above scoring will remain in place until there has been a notable shift in terms of the strength of the above programs.
4)Rugby World Cup
Another area of our scoring that is based purely on performance. The 1987 and 1991 World Cup’s have been excluded from this list due to South Africa not taking part in said tournaments due to sporting boycott’s. We understand there may be some disagreement in this regard however we are purely looking at this from a schools ranking perspective and felt that it would not be a fair comparison if South Africa were excluded, we would do the same for any school/nation that was in the same position.
Points were awarded as follows:
Champions: 8 points
Runners Up: 7.8 points
Third Place: 7.6 points
Fourth Place: 7.4 points
Quarter Finals: 7 points
Group Stage: 5 points
The above scoring will remain in place.
5) School Championship
The schools championship was one of the more complex areas to analyze but we believe we have struck the correct balance in terms of issuing scores. Each nation is unique in terms of the way they structure their competitions.
With each nation being unique and there naturally being a relative difference in strength between the competitions with some being national and some being regional. Further to this there are differences in terms of history, some competitions have been running for over 100 years while others are relatively new.
Therefore our methodology was simple in that we noted the length of the competition in years, then took the total amount of wins in said competition by each school and divided it by the competition length to give an average win rate.
For example School A participates in the GPS competition and has won 16 trophies in its history and the competition has been in existence for 101 years. Therefore wins/years = 16/101 = 0.16 average win rate.
The average win rate is then multiplied by the strength of the competition, in this case let us assume that the points awarded for the competition are 500 then 0.16 x 500 = 79.21 points that are awarded to the school.
Points were assigned as follows:
Champions Trophy: 250
Daily Mail Trophy: 250
St Josephs Festival: 250
Schools Cup: 250
Ulster : 430
National Championship: 1000
Number 1 Ranking: 1000
There is a large discrepancy between the points awarded between the South African and New Zealand competitions and the rest due to the fact that New Zealand has a national champion and South African generally has a recognized number 1 ranked school in the country, an unofficial national champion so to speak.
England have 4 major schools competitions and therefore if a school were to win all 4 competitions for example they would be awarded points on the same level as South Africa and New Zealand.
Ireland and Australia have strong regional competitions but no national competition and therefore it can be agreed upon that the scoring will be far lower in this regard.
For the 2022 season onward points will be awarded with maximum points possible being 10 points. Next year then South African and New Zealand national champions will be awarded 10 points, Leinster Champions 5 points and so on.
As mentioned once we have completed our database of Scottish and Welsh schools we will add them to the list in the future, further schools from the sample group above will be awarded points on internationals produced in these countries.
This is a living document and therefore new schools can and will be added in the future and our calculations will be updated as and when we receive new information. If you feel we are missing some schools feel free to get in touch with us and finally enjoy the rankings that the next few days will bring.
Once the Top 10 has been released we will make our spreadsheet available for those who wish to more closely scrutinize the list as well as release the full list of 115 schools contained on the list.