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Tew to tackle schoolboy drop


Tew to tackle drop in schoolboy participants

New Zealand Rugby released their independent review of secondary school rugby earlier this week.

A total of 31 recommendations have been made in an effort to improve the administration of the schools game.

NZR CEO Steve Tew said the next task is to work through those recommendations with the schools, but players will be put first.

“It’s a summary of a lot of work that was done last year and it’s identified some things that, in conjunction with some secondary schools around the country, we hope to do something about some of those recommendations, but we have to work through that with the schools,” Tew told Fairfax.

“Without getting into specifics, the key thing from our point of view is it has to be very athlete-focused.

“We have got a little bit of a contradiction. You’ve got some really highly focused schools that use sport as a part of what makes that school work, not just rugby, but rowing, waterpolo, other sports are in the same boat.

“That has it’s really positive aspects and it’s negative aspects, and we saw that manifest itself near the end last year.”

The negative aspects manifested last month, with schools refusing to play upcoming fixtures against Auckland’s Saint Kentigern College due to their practices surrounding player recruitment.

Tew identified a key problem is the drop-off in playing numbers, with Auckland cited as an example.

The number of secondary school teams in Auckland decreased by 17 per cent from 2013 to 2017.

“We’ve got a generation of kids that if they’re not identified early as first XV players and go on into our high performance systems, that they leave the game early,” Tew said.

“We’ve got to find a way to make the game remain attractive.

“I wasn’t happy about playing in the second XV, but I did stay and play in the second XV. We’ve got to get back to that approach in schools.”

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Tew to tackle drop in schoolboy participants
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