Super Eight join rugby boycott
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.”