Rugby: St Kentigern College boycotted by Auckland First XV rivals

  • 05/12/2018

A powerhouse of Auckland schoolboy rugby has been boycotted by First XV rivals over its player recruitment programme.

NZME reports St Kentigern College has been ostricised by 10 other local schools, after admitting to recruiting senior elite players from rival teams to strengthen its squad for the upcoming season.

Mt Albert Grammar School principal Patrick Drumm told NZME the schools were taking a stance against actions they felt were threatening the integrity of college rugby in Auckland.

"It's a serious issue and it needed a serious response," Drumm said.

"We needed to take a strong leadership stand, as a recruitment strategy like this is not what school sport should be about.

"The integrity and credibility of the competition is challenged by targeting elite players from around the country."

NZME reports that Kings College was also put on notice, but agreed to implement changes to their recruitment policy.

St Kentigern head David Hodge was adamant his school had not broken any rules, and has called on College Sport and NZ Rugby to intervene.

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All Black Rieko Ioane responds to St Kents ban. Photo credit: Instagram

"College Sport has a clear set of bylaws that regulate the 1A rugby competition," he said. "These bylaws include strict conditions on the recruitment of players.

"St Kentigern College totally respects and accepts these bylaws, and has, at all times, acted in accordance with them.

"We believe the schools involved in this action have acted out of self-interest and completely independently of College Sport.

"They are acting in contempt of the guidelines and bylaws set down by College Sport, both for the competition and in the manner in which any disputes between schools should be handled." 

NZ Rugby has already conducted a review of secondary schools rugby, with the outcome to be considered by the NZR board later this month.

"Player movement was one of the areas highlighted as a concern in that review and there will be recommendations that look to address this," said chief rugby officer Nigel Cass.

"We're obviously disappointed that the schools have not been able to find a resolution on their own, but we are all conscious that the way forward needs to ensure the best outcome for everyone."