Tauranga Boys’ College Principal Robert Mangan is supportive of the move by Auckland schools to kick St Kentigern College’s First XV into touch.
The private Auckland school has been isolated by a group of leading schools in the 1A First XV competition because St Kentigern has recruited five boys on full scholarships that have all played First XV rugby outside the Auckland area.
“It changes the whole ball game when schools are enticing students through financial means to attend their schools,” Mangan says.
“The best thing about it is the discussion this is causing and the platform on which we can actually address the issue and we can start calling out schools.”
He admits it is a murky area and his school is also a target.
“A number of schools in the area will see Tauranga Boys’ as being a little bit hypocritical but we do not have a hostel and do not offer any enticement other than a quality programme for local talent to come to play for our sports teams.
“(All Black) Nathan Harris is an example of a boy who came into our environment from Te Puke as an outer-zoner. He sought a quality competition that we have at Tauranga Boys’ to further his development in terms of rugby.
“He has been able to achieve the pinnacle in terms of a professional player through that Tauranga Boys’ pathway.”
The eight North Island boys’ schools that make up the Super 8 competition, including Tauranga Boys’, are united in their support for the Auckland schools against St Kentigern College.
Mangan says his school has lost a number of their rising stars over the years across different age groups who have been offered scholarships to independent schools.
Halfback Carlos Price is the most recent student to move to St Kentigern after one season in the Tauranga Boys’ First XV.
He went on to represent NZ Schools and plays Mitre 10 Cup for Wellington. He will turn out for Bay of Plenty at the TECT National Sevens to be held at Tauranga Domain this coming weekend.
“Auckland has been the most prevalent over the years. Particularly St Kents and King’s College,” Mangan says.
“We can go back to Daniel Braid who played in our First XV and left us similarly as Carlos Price did at end of Year 11. (Braid) went to King’s and kicked on to play for the Blues and the All Blacks.
“There is always a grey area where those schools will claim that the family approached them. I don’t believe the quality of competition they are getting in the Auckland 1A is any better than the quality of competition they are getting in the Super 8 schools.
“I also don’t believe the quality of education of those independent schools is any better than they would get at any of the Super 8 schools as well.”