Auckland's St Kentigern College to stand down 'poached' players after other schools threaten boycott

Saint Kentigern College have been cleared to play in Auckland's 1A rugby competition this year, however they will be forced to stand down new-to-school players after being accused of poaching talent by other schools.

Late last year, 10 other Auckland schools came together threatening to boycott playing St Kentigern, due to excessive recruitment of players.

In a decision released today, an independent panel have clamped down on St Kentigern's recruitment policy, yet also declared any boycott by other Auckland schools to be in breach of College Sport Auckland's bylaws.

As a result, St Kentigern have agreed to stand down their new to school players for the opening six rounds of the Auckland 1A competition, as well as any potential semi-finals or finals.

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After Saint Kentigern's recruiting tactics came under the spotlight, the Breakfast team couldn't help but wonder who it benefits. Source: Breakfast

Independent panel chair Tim Castle detailed the findings, coming down hard on St Kentigern's recruitment policy.

We find that St Kentigern is in significant respect the author of its own misfortune in not adequately taking on board the changed mood amongst the participating schools community," he told the NZ Herald.

The panel did also say that other elite Auckland schools weren't exempt from similar claims of player poaching, stating that "enough is enough, this practice must stop."

St Kentigern welcomed the decision, holding their hands up over the allegations made by the other Auckland schools.

The panel confirmed Saint Kentigern has followed the rules of this competition. We also accept that over several years we should have recognised concerns about an advantage being gained through the enrolment of students and their selection for the 1st XV."

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A coalition of Auckland schools have boycotted playing St Kentigern College in 2019. Source: 1 NEWS

"The panel made an initial ruling that this issue should be resolved by having new-to-school players stood down for the first six games of the season, which we agreed to along with one other school," Chairman of the St Kentigern Trust Board Dr John Kernohan said.

"We have decided to also agree to a further call from the ten other participating schools for the two most directly affected players to be also stood down for any semi-final and final games.

"We are conscious of the impact this will have on boys who came to the College in good faith. But on balance and in the interests of bringing this to a close, the Trust Board has agreed to this extra step in the interests of allowing the competition to get underway and seeing students participate in their sport."

Dejected St Kents player Robert Rush and team mates.
St Kentigern College v St Peters. First XV schools semi-final rugby union. Auckland, New Zealand. Saturday 11 August 2018. © Andrew Cornaga /
Dejected St Kents players. Source: Photosport

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