BOP schools react to St Kents row
Principal slams player poaching as Rotorua Boys’ and Tauranga Boys’ join boycott
Earlier this week, NZME revealed the Pakurangabased St Kentigern College, which has won three of the last four Auckland First XV titles, has been boycotted by first XV rivals over its player recruitment programme.
The college was ostracised by 10 other Auckland schools, after admitting recruiting senior elite players from rival teams to strengthen its squad for the upcoming season.
Since then, all of the schools in the central North Island’s Super 8 Rugby competition, which includes Rotorua Boys’ High School and Tauranga Boys’ College, have followed suit and refused to play St Kentigern.
The other schools in the Super 8 are Hamilton Boys’ High School, Palmerston North Boys’ High School, Hastings Boys’ High School, New Plymouth Boys’ High School, Gisborne Boys’ High School and Napier Boys’ High School.
While those teams wouldn’t normally come up against St Kents in the course of a season, if approached for a game they would all decline the offer.
Rotorua Boys’ High School principal Chris Grinter said secondary school sporting success had always been cyclical and the poaching of players developed by other schools did not allow those schools to have their “moment in the sun”.
“It does not allow the natural order of events to express itself, schools run development programmes and those programmes take time to work. Success comes in cycles, so this recruiting by one school counters this natural process where different schools go through successful periods.
“Schools with no junior rugby development process, you have to question the degree to which they’re entitled to just buy in a top team.”
Grinter believed Rotorua Boys’ High School has had a top player recruited by St Kents in the past. He rubbished the idea that young players needed to go to Auckland to be noticed.
His school has a rich rugby history, winning four national championships (1998, 2002, 2003, 2015) and the prestigious World Rugby Youth Invitational Tournament on two occasions.
Last weekend, at the Condor Sevens, there were no Auckland schools involved in the finals. Rotorua Boys’ played Hamilton Boys’ High School in both the Open and Under-15 tournaments.
“I’m satisfied the top rugby players and sportsmen at Rotorua Boys’ High get sufficient exposure to pursue any professional opportunity they want.
“Our success in rugby is significantly superior to St PHOTO / GETTY IMAGES Kentigern’s, so what’s the point of moving out of the district to go in the Auckland 1A competition.
“The headmasters and principals who have spoken out on this have said they don’t want that heavily monetised aspect of professional sport to creep into secondary school sport. That’s another objection.
“Sure, we know there is a bit of movement in the new-to-school environment. Students do move from one school to another if they want to develop a particular skill or talent, but there are rules around that. We know what those rules are and schools live within those rules.
“The idea that secondary PHOTO / FILE school sport jumps into this professional era that the person with the most money can secure a certain player, I just don’t think schools want that to continue at the extent it exists now.”
Tauranga Boys’ College principal Robert Mangan told
he was right behind the decision for all Super 8 schools to PHOTO / FILE
"Our success in rugby is significantly superior to St Kentigern’s, so what’s the point of moving." Rotorua Boys’ High School principal Chris Grinter
boycott games against St Kentigern’s College.
Former Tauranga Boys’ College student Carlos Price, who was in the school’s First XV in Year 11, moved to St Kentigern’s College for his final two years of school.
Price, who plays for Wellington in the Mitre 10 Cup, has represented NZ U20s and is in the Hurricanes’ wider set-up. Next weekend he is representing Bay of Plenty at the TECT National Sevens in Tauranga.
Tauranga Boys’ College and Rotorua Boys’ High School go head-to-head during this year’s Super 8 Rugby competition.
Rotorua Boy’s High School celebrates with the Barbarians Cup following their win in the National First XV Championship Final in 2015.
Rotorua Boys’ High School principal Chris Grinter has hit out at St Kentigern College’s “targeted recruitment”.