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Opening doorways or chasing rugby titles? TVNZ1 Breakfast crew weigh in on Auckland schoolboy player poaching saga

News of a top Auckland First XV team St Kentigern being boycotted by fellow secondary schools over their use of recruiting tactics has led commentators and the New Zealand public alike to question who really benefits from using the controversial scholarships.

TVNZ1's Breakfast crew of Jack Tame, Hayley Holt, Daniel Faitaua and Matty McLean argued amongst themselves and with comments sent to them from viewers about the situation after it was revealed yesterday Saint Kentigern had been barred from competing in next year's 1A competition due to them "poaching" top talent.

"I just don't think it's in the interests of rugby and I actually don't think it's necessarily in the interests of the player," Tame said.

"The schools that are doing the poaching are doing it because they want to win rugby competitions, they're not doing it because they want to give someone a really good, scholarly experience or anything like that."

Hayley Holt said there was more to the off-field perks than just education though.

"[The poached players] are meeting people they might not get a chance to meet, they're making these networks that will actually help them in life and possibly also give them a pathway into rugby as a career."

Daniel Faitaua agreed, saying chances like private school scholarships can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some families.

"If you can get a rich school to pay for your child to attend their school, they get to see a different side of life.

"They get to experience something they will never, ever experience in their lives given the upbringing that they come from.

"Many of them are Pacific Island kids, see that carrot being dangled in front of them and their families will chase that carrot and accept it.

"Yes, it is for the benefit of the school but it is also for the benefit of the players and their families."

Matty McLean said it was simply how life works.

"Businesses are poaching good employees all the time and things like that.

"We've done this to ourselves by putting rugby on this pedestal and making it this thing that everyone needs to strive for and turning what should should be a fun, little First XV competition into a business."

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


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