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'I've seen it all now'


'I've seen it all now' - Rieko Ioane weighs in schoolboy rugby debate

All Blacks wing Rieko Ioane has weighed in on the seemingly Auckland-wide boycott of St Kentigern College’s first XV by 10 competing schools.

Former Auckland Grammar School star Ioane chimed in on Instagram, preaching the idea that teams should want to test themselves against the best.

“I’ve seen it all now. Just because they recruit doesn’t mean you pull [the] plug. Don’t run from the competition,” he shared on his Instagram story.

“If you wanna be the best you beat the best.

“St Kents makes first XV competition harder but it makes it better when you beat them.”

The debate comes after the New Zealand Herald revealed yesterday that St Kentigern College will reportedly be boycotted by rival schools fed up by the school’s recruitment policies. Up to five players from rival schools were recruited to play for St Kentigern next year.

‘They’re not building from the ground up, from year nine to 11. They’re going after the superstars and it’s brazen,” Napier Boys principal Matthew Bertram told the Herald, after their halfback joined the school for next year.

After attempts to formalise some standard guidelines failed, including limiting teams to playing just two regional players who have played 1st XV rugby before, up to 10 schools formally advised St Kentigerns they would boycott playing them.

All Blacks wing Rieko Ioane during his time with Auckland Grammar School. Photo / Getty Images

“It’s a serious issue and it needed a serious response,” Mount Albert Grammar School principal Patrick Drumm said.

“We needed to take a strong leadership stand as a recruitment strategy like this is not what school sport should be about.

“The integrity and credibility of the competition is challenged by targeting elite players from around the country.

“We felt the time was right to try to have a moral and ethical discussion and while we had a positive meeting with King’s that wasn’t the case with St Kents.”

“It is the immediate decision of each of our schools that in 2019 our 1st XV rugby teams will not now compete against St Kentigern College.”

Local college sports bylaws restrict inter-school recruitment within the Auckland region, however, St Kentigern’s recruitment net has spread to a national stage in recent years.

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'I've seen it all now' - Rieko Ioane weighs in schoolboy rugby debate