Poaching rules better for junior rugby
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.