@Crucial said in 2022 School rugby:
What’s in that Herald article (paywalled) about the SP v Kelston game? Expose of schools rugby or shit stirring?
Here's the main part of it:
At this point in a match preview we would normally be quoting the thoughts of one of the coaches.
Perhaps we might have asked Kelston's Matt Howling what it would mean to win the title via knockout stages, as opposed to earning it through having been round robin leaders when the season was brought to a halt by Covid-19, as was the case last year.
Or inquired as to what they may need to do differently to avoid a repeat of their 23-3 loss to St Peter's on May 21.
We might have asked St Peter's Dave Thomas how his team compares to the school's champion team of 2018. Or maybe his thoughts on whether loosehead prop Sika Pole and halfback Etu Fokufuka can again score critical tries against Kelston, or the prospect of flanker Dylan Petaia turning in another player of the day performance.
Or, more generally it may have been a chance to name-drop a few of the individual players from both teams who have enjoyed stellar seasons. Or contextualise the occasion in terms of the schools' proud history in 1A competition.
For this article, Kelston's director of sport, William Howling, was contacted on the advice of Auckland Rugby's communications manager James Johnston, who did his best to facilitate media access with reluctant schools.
"We won't be making any comment," Howling said. He could not explain why Kelston wouldn't comment. Kelston has a stated school vision of "inspiring growth through wisdom and honour".
Meanwhile the St Peter's camp offered comment for over half the season - before belatedly advising they had been instructed by the principal to desist. No reason was given why.
Nic Slade is director of sport at St Peter's, whose mission statement says: "We work with the community in setting our goals and objectives and in assessing our effectiveness."
Slade was approached for comment via email and phone message. There was no response.
According to the same mission statement, St Peter's adopt Jesus Christ as their model in all they do. At this point, for anyone who ever went to a Catholic school, Proverbs 1:28 may spring to mind.
"Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
"They will seek me diligently but they will not find me."
So here we are.
Auckland has one of the best first XV competitions around in terms of rugby production. But in terms of understanding how "the product" is presented and consumed, they live in the dark ages. They might as well inhabit the cave of Boreas as New Zealand's biggest metropolis.
In other parts of the country the promotion and publicising of a first XV rugby final is something which is embraced. In Auckland they would rather not answer the phone.
This season this column has presented comment and background information from schools in North Harbour, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, and Dunedin.
There has never been anything even approaching the insular resistance that prevails within the Auckland schools. Indeed, the contrast with how helpful they have been in trying to build the symbiotic relationship between sport and media has been striking.
To a certain extent that is a reflection of the civilising influence of sponsored competitions and trophies, where publicity is solicited to do justice to the wider community investment. In central North Island Super 8 rugby they now even broadcast and televise their matches.
By contrast, Auckland's unsponsored 1A stands aloof.