5 May 2010

Principal denies head-hunting rugby player

2:49 pm on 5 May 2010

The principal of St Kentigern College, whose rugby coach has been suspended for breaching player poaching rules, says the school did not seek out the player at the centre of the allegations.

First XV coach Tai Lavea has been banned from any match-day involvement for five weeks after a student from his former low-decile Aorere College transferred to St Kentigern's, a private school.

St Kentigern's principal Steve Cole says the player had been coached by Mr Lavea at Aorere College in Papatoetoe.

Mr Cole says the boy approached Mr Lavea about coming to St Kentigern's after he found out he had to move districts and schools.

He says Mr Lavea did not realise that he should not have had a discussion with the student about transferring schools.

A sports admistrator who suspended the coach says schools have a right to keep their homegrown talent.

Manoj Daji, head of the governing body College Sport that handed down the penalty, says Mr Lavea should have told the student to contact the school directly.

Mr Daji says the rules are in place because lower-decile schools often work hard to foster sporting talent and it is not fair if the students are then lured away.