Then there were . . . 18

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

dis­ap­point­ing some­thing like this had hap­pened, Bovey felt it was a good thing peo­ple were now talk­ing about it.

‘‘There’s been ru­mours go­ing around about what this school’s been do­ing and what that school’s been do­ing. I’m hop­ing what comes out of this is that some schools change the way we’re do­ing things.’’

Gis­borne Boys’ High prin­ci­pal An­drew Turner said they were ‘‘keen to sup­port a fairer, more trans­par­ent, egal­i­tar­ian sys­tem’’.

‘‘It’s fair to say the land­scape of first XV rugby’s changed in the last five to 10 years. As tra­di­tional boys schools, we’re just say­ing ‘hey, there’s got to be some lines in the sand’.

‘‘We’re not the United States of Amer­ica, we don’t have mas­sive pools of kids and money and all the other rub­bish.

‘‘We’re New Zealand, and we’ve sur­vived for a long time and put our­selves at the top of the rugby world just by hav­ing homegrown tal­ent.’’

For Tau­ranga Boys’ prin­ci­pal Robert Man­gan, the mat­ter is one which hits close to home.

‘‘Be­ing a school that has lost up-and-com­ing play­ers at dif­fer­ent lev­els of rugby, it’s good that they have been called out on the is­sue,’’ he said.

His lat­est ex­am­ple is Car­los Price, who was in the Tau­ranga first XV in Year 11, be­fore mov­ing on to St Kents for his fi­nal two years of school. He now plays for Welling­ton in the Mitre 10 Cup, has rep­re­sented New Zealand Un­der-20s and is in the Hur­ri­canes’ wider setup.

Bovey said the lack of per­spec­tive peo­ple had around school sport was ‘‘dis­turb­ing’’.

‘‘Peo­ple are com­pet­i­tive and we all want our kids to do well and have the op­por­tu­nity to com­pete at a high level. But I think some have sold their soul to do it.

‘‘The kids who have worked their back­sides off from year nine and fi­nally get their chance in the se­nior school, and your place has been taken by a kid who’s come in for one year, I just think that’s pal­pa­bly un­fair.’’

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