Su­per Eight join rugby boy­cott

The New Zealand Herald - - Super Sport -

The Su­per Eight sec­ondary rugby schools have joined the boy­cott of St Kentigern Col­lege.

The schools, Hamil­ton Boys' High School, Palmer­ston North Boys' High School, Hast­ings Boys' High School, Ro­torua Boys' High School, New Ply­mouth Boys' High School, Gis­borne Boys' High School, Napier Boys' High School and Tau­ranga Boys' Col­lege, don’t nor­mally play St Kent’s but said yes­ter­day that if they were ap­proached they would de­cline.

Napier Boys' High School head­mas­ter Matt Bertram told the Her­ald that Su­per Eight schools would stand with the 1A prin­ci­pals and refuse to play St Kents.

The only sched­uled fix­ture in 2019 in­volv­ing Su­per Eight schools is Hast­ings Boys' High School ver­sus St Kents.

Hast­ing Boys' prin­ci­pal Rob Sturch is un­der­stood to have can­celled the fix­ture. The school did not re­turn calls made by the Her­ald.

Mean­while, a prin­ci­pal who lost one of his first XV play­ers to St Kentigern Col­lege says “a bad un­der­belly of sec­ondary school sport” has been ex­posed.

The peren­nial na­tional cham­pi­onship pri­vate school con­tender has been shunned from Auck­land’s top com­pe­ti­tion after be­ing the only one of 11 schools who re­fused to sign a doc­u­ment about rules and con­duct re­gard­ing player poach­ing and wel­fare.

St Kentigern re­vealed a few weeks ago that they had taken on five boys on full schol­ar­ships, all of whom played for first XVs at schools out­side the Auck­land area.

Al­though there are no rules re­gard­ing how many stu­dents can be in­tro­duced from out­side of Auck­land, other schools felt St Kents’ re­cruit­ment drive was a step too far, with the school also hav­ing re­cruited play­ers in past years from op­pos­ing Auck­land schools.

Massey Col­lege prin­ci­pal Glen Den­ham had seen that first-hand and la­belled the St Kentigerns con­duct as “far­ci­cal”.

“The big­gest thing for me is the stu­dent who left us and went to St Kents, we loved him. The rugby was just the cherry; the cake was him and his ed­u­ca­tion,” Den­ham told New­stalk ZB.

“Our teach­ers worked hard on him for three years. Aca­dem­i­cally he’d re­ally done well, and now St Kents are reap­ing the ben­e­fits not only from the aca­demic stuff we’ve done with him but also sport­ing-wise.

“We just don’t get to see that fruit blos­som, and that’s the sad­dest thing for us.”

The Her­ald re­vealed on Wed­nes­day 10 schools formed a coali­tion and agreed to boy­cott matches against St Kentigern be­cause of their re­cruit­ment pol­icy, which they deem to be morally and eth­i­cally rep­re­hen­si­ble.

Den­ham said Massey Col­lege don’t have the fund­ing and re­sources to com­pete with what top schools can of­fer play­ers.

The prin­ci­pal said he hoped the fi­asco ex­posed the prac­tice of poach­ing that was hap­pen­ing through­out high schools.

“I’m glad St Kents have been held to ac­count.”

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