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'We don't recruit players' - St Kentigern respond to player poaching claims, calls for arbitration to end boycott

The Auckland secondary school being shunned by rivals heading into next year's First XV rugby competition over allegations of poaching players have responded to the claims, saying they don't and they'll seek arbitration to end to boycott.

St Kentigern College wrote to families of students at the school to respond to the developing saga, stating they have asked College Sport Auckland to lead an arbitration process to deal with the boycott from the 1A competition.

Head of St Kentigern David Hodge said in the statement he was confident the issues could be resolved and claims made about poaching players were false.

"We always want to be part of a tournament where the same rules apply to all participants," he said.

"We will enter arbitration in that spirit, while also needing to ensure the commitments we have already made with the five boys and their families, who are joining the College next year, are also honoured.

"These boys and their families have also made a commitment to Saint Kentigern, and we will respect that. We look forward to the contribution they will make to the College, not only in sport but as we know from past experience, across other academic and school activities."

The five boys Hodge refers to are players from outside Auckland who were "recruited" for their rugby talents.

Read more on the Saint Kentigern saga here:

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."

Hodge said in the statement the school was happy to comply with all rules but maintained it always has.

"We are happy to abide by any approach covering all schools in arbitration for 2020 and are keen to find common ground for 2019, while honouring our commitments which were entered into in good faith before this matter arose.

"We do not accept claims that we have acted inconsistently with our values or that we "recruit" players, which we do not do."

After an initial 10 schools in Auckland decided to boycott St Kentigern on Wednesday, it was announced yesterday all sides in the central North Island's Super Eight competition had joined in as well.

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


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