Rugby: St Kentigern College calls for arbitration process to deal with poaching controversy

St Kentigern College has asked College Sport Auckland to lead an arbitration process to deal with the looming boycott of their participation in the 1A first XV competition.

The Herald revealed yesterday St Kents have been effectively kicked out of next year's competition after a coalition of rival schools agreed to boycott the school because of their recruitment policy, which they deem to be morally and ethically reprehensible.

Head of St Kents David Hodge said he was confident the issues could be resolved before the start of the season.

"We support a successful school rugby culture and we are delighted College Sport Auckland has confirmed it is ready to act in this role so that we can all look forward to a successful and enjoyable season," he said in a statement.

[Read more: Sport NZ boss backs schools' boycott, All Blacks star weighs in on saga]

Hodge said St Kents remains fully committed to participating with one set of rules applying equally to all teams.

"We follow the rules that were agreed and set by College Sport Auckland, and would have expected the most recent issue to have been raised before school enrolments had closed for 2019.

"We look forward to resolving this matter and to a successful and rewarding season for all teams."

St Kentigern players celebrate after they win the final against Sacred Heart last year. Photo / Photosport
St Kentigern players celebrate after they win the final against Sacred Heart last year. Photo / Photosport

St Kents revealed a few weeks ago that they have taken on five boys on full scholarships, all of whom played for first XVs at schools outside the Auckland area.

[Read more: St Kents head David Hodge claims rugby programme endorsed by NZ Rugby]

Although there are no rules regarding how many students can be introduced from outside of Auckland, other schools felt this was a step too far.

As a result, 10 schools in the 1A competition where St Kents play are refusing to play the school in next year's competition.

The Auckland schools have since created a document about rules and conduct they've all had to agree to regarding poaching and welfare.

St Kents refused to sign it, and therefore were informed no other school will honour their fixture against them in 2019.

- NZ Herald

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