BOP schools re­act to St Kents row

Prin­ci­pal slams player poach­ing as Ro­torua Boys’ and Tau­ranga Boys’ join boy­cott

Bay of Plenty Times - - World Feature - David

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”.

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