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Report paints worrying picture

No wonder the national rugby bosses admit they are alarmed.

This week’s report into secondary schools rugby charted the fall of rugby in secondary schools around Auckland and North Harbour.

Since 2013, the number of boys’ and girls’ school teams in Auckland has fallen from 225 to 181, a 20 percent drop.

The situation is even worse in North Harbour.

Since 2014 (there are no 2013 figures), 92 school teams have become 64 teams, a drop of more than 30 percent.

The language in the independent review, commissioned by New Zealand Rugby, doesn’t hold back.

It states that schools rugby is:

Trending downwards at an alarming rate.This is even worse when you consider school rolls are increasing.There are problems forming meaningful, viable competitions.Only a few schools have strong rugby programmes, and these are causing “disquiet and questionable outcomes”.The concerns highlighted in Auckland are common around the country.There are “deep concerns” about the sustainability of schools rugby success.Using these figures, the true extent of a declining interest among boys in playing the game is masked by the rising number of girls’ teams.The report says: “The girls’ game, on the other hand, is experiencing strong growth in numbers which is generating a separate set of challenges in resourcing, coaching and acceptance within schools.” — NZ Herald

SCHOOL PRIDE: Players from Gisborne Boys’ High School and St Peter’s College of Auckland give their all in an interschool game in Gisborne last year. A review commissioned by New Zealand Rugby has painted a worrying picture of the state of secondary schools rugby in Auckland and North Harbour, and says concerns highlighted in Auckland are common around the country. Gisborne Herald file picture