16 Sep 2015

Investigation over player eligibility at Rotorua High

1:18 pm on 16 September 2015

Rotorua Boys' High School's rugby team has come under scrutiny following a complaint it fielded ineligible players in a First 15 schools' competition.

Rotorua Boys' High School's director of rugby, Ngarimu Simpkins on left.

Rotorua Boys High School director of rugby Ngarimu Simpkins (far left). Photo: Supplied

The New Zealand Schools Rugby Union is conducting an independent investigation

The former head of the Lotteries Commission, Peter Dale, will undertake a review of the policies and processes governing school boy eligibility in the wake of a breach of the rules in a Top 4 play-off match in August.

In the match between New Plymouth Boys High School 1st XV (NPBHS) and the Rotorua Boys High School 1st XV (RBHS) played on 28 August, two players were included on a signed team sheet for RBHS who were not eligible to play in the Top 4 competition.

After receiving a complaint from New Plymouth Boys High School it was found that the other team had fielded two ineligible players.

Rotorua Boys' High School's is defending the team and says the two ineligible players had previously been at the school, but had left for a gap year before returning this year and re-enrolling.

But under new eligibility rules applying this year they should have been counted as new students.

Schools can only include six students new to the school in their squads for any given game, but Rotorua had eight in their squad for that game.

The New Zealand Schools Rugby Union chairman said the investigation had determined that a genuine breach of the "new player to school" rules had occurred because the school had not been aware of the new rules.

"The issues raise some questions about the robustness of our policies and processes in this area and we welcome Peter Dale coming on board at short notice to review these matters," said Mr Chronican.

Rotorua Boys' High School went on to win the competition, and played the subsequent matches according to the eligibility rules, in that no more than six "new to school" players taking part in the finals.

The review is expected to be completed in October.