The boss of Sport New Zealand has thrown his support behind the 10 schools who are boycotting playing First XV matches against St Kentigern College next year due to their controversial recruitment methods.
Sport NZ CEO Peter Miskimmin told Newshub he backs the disgruntled Auckland secondary schools 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 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 said.
"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."
St Kentigern College has won three of the last four Auckland 1A competitions but after missing out on the national title this year, they have recruited five players from outside the region to bolster their ranks.
Mount Albert Grammar principal Patrick Drumm told 1 NEWS he is fed up with the unethical practice by St Kents and things needs change.
"You're actually ripping that out of a school as they head to, in this case St Kents, for one or two years to bolster a rugby programme and the group of principals said we're not really prepared to put up with that," said Drumm.
"The five coming in from outside Auckland we think is a bit outrageous."
Rotorua Boys' High School principal Chris Grinter told 1 NEWS one of their promising stars had been poached by St Kents after they saw him at a Chiefs development camp.
"Outstanding young man of ours who towards the end of this current season broke into our first XV, has been recruited by St Kentigern College for 2019 and we're really unhappy about it."
St Kentigern wouldn't comment to 1 NEWS about the situation, saying they will prefer to sit down with their accusers face-to-face. College Sport told 1 NEWS they've stepped in to facilitate.