Poach­ing rules bet­ter for ju­nior rugby

Weekend Herald - - Viewpoints -

Hav­ing been in­volved in coach­ing and ad­min­is­ter­ing ju­nior rugby at club, first XV and rep­re­sen­ta­tive level for 20 years I am in­ter­ested to see how the cur­rent poach­ing scan­dal en­gulf­ing St Kentigern Col­lege plays out.

In the late 1990s St Kent’s walkon first XV com­prised over half a dozen boys “re­cruited” from the likes of Pa­p­a­toe­toe High, Aorere Col­lege and James Cook High. At that time, through the me­dia, I raised my con­cerns with the school­boy rugby gov­ern­ing body.

How­ever, as this might have forced all other schools to face pub­lic scru­tiny, noth­ing even­tu­ated.

All top schools poach, although of course they don’t use that term. St Kent’s has al­ways been the most egre­gious of­fender. Poach­ing top play­ers from out­side means play­ers who have gone through the grades, and of­ten whose par­ents have been in­volved in fundrais­ing, manag­ing or coach­ing for years, miss out on the hon­our of rep­re­sent­ing their school at firstXV level.

Ap­par­ently there are rules to pre­vent poach­ing. One hopes that this scan­dal will re­sult in tight­en­ing of these rules to en­sure a level play­ing field and give all boys the op­por­tu­nity to play first XV rugby.

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