Rugby: Sport NZ boss Peter Miskimmin supports St Kentigern boycott

Sport New Zealand boss Peter Miskimmin supports the 10 schools boycotting First XV rugby matches against St Kentigern College next season.

St Kents, winners of three of the last four Auckland 1A titles, have been ostracised by rival schools, after it admitted to recruiting young stars from opposition teams.

"I would commend the principals of the schools making what I think is a moral value-based stand for the integrity of the sport and the holistic development on children," he told Newshub.

"I think they have made a good stand and I'd like to support them.

"It speaks to the commercialisation of college sport, which is good in some regards, but it comes with some danger.

"What you have is educationalists standing up for children. I think what they're trying to do is protect the integrity of secondary school sport - not only in Auckland, but across the country.

"They're making a stand for the development of children over winning or marketing imperatives, which makes for an interesting debate."

Miskimmin added it was great to see people come together to support the same values.

"I appreciate that children and parents have discussions where their children will go. It is an honest, transparent, even fair way of doing things. That's what these schools are working their way through now and I commend them.

"A number of schools have gotten to the point where they're disappointed and frustrated around what's happened in the past, and they're trying to address that now.

"That is certainly an argument that has come from some schools, that elite schools with major resources can poach other athletes and players, and that might be a disadvantage."

Rotorua Boys High School principal Chris Grinter told The AM Show that one of their top prospects, who has come through their system, had been targeted by the Pakuranga-based school.

"I'm speaking on behalf of Rotorua Boys High and we’re upset that one of our young talents, that has been coming through the school for the last four years, has been offered an inducement to go to St Kents," he said.

"I don't think it's sour grapes - it's about a level playing field and fair competition for all schools.

"It has happened for years, but this targeted recruitment is taking it to another level and that is where the reaction has come from.

"History shows our promotion of young men in a rugby context would certainly be the equal of St Kents and our results at national competition are probably superior to St Kents."


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