Auckland, New Zealand, May 29, 2013 â€“ Strong growth in rugby league at secondary school level has seen the NZRL introduce selection criteria for this yearâ€™s NZRL National Secondary Schools Tournament. Previously the tournament had an open invitation, but this year places will first be offered to the best performing schools in each of the NZRLâ€™s seven zones. That should see a real spread of the countryâ€™s talent on show from September 2-6 at Bruce Pulman Park in Papakura.
â€œThis tournament is for the best-of-the-best in secondary school rugby league,â€ says the NZRLâ€™s General Manager of Community Development, Dain Guttenbeil. â€œBut we also have a responsibility to grow the game across New Zealand. We believe the new criteria will allow us to achieve both those goals.â€
Last year teams from Northland all the way down to Central Southland College took part in the tournament, but the majority of the 24 teams came from the greater Auckland area.
â€œThe current powerbase of schoolboy rugby league is within the Akarana and Counties Manukau zones,â€ says Guttenbeil. â€œWeâ€™ve reflected that with an increased allocation of places for those zones, but every school in the country can now win their way to this tournament.â€
At least two schools are assured of a place in the tournament via wild card entries, which are another new addition this year. Two wild card entries – one in the Premier grade and one in the Developing grade â€“ will be chosen by the NZRL. And Guttenbeil is quick to point out that the overall zone allocations are just a starting point.
â€œThe reality is that schools, especially those that have to travel long distances, canâ€™t always make the trip, so weâ€™ll have a waiting list for the tournament. As weâ€™ve seen before, these schools often end up playing.â€
For that reason the NZRL strongly encourages schools to register now for the tournament. Registrations and payments will be accepted from any school interested in competing, up until July 12.
The 2013 NZRL National Secondary Schools Tournament will again feature 24 teams split into Premier (16 teams) and Developing (8 teams) grades. Last yearâ€™s winners in the Premier grade were St Pauls while Auckland Grammar took out the Developing section.
Schools after further details or a registration pack should contact Carmen Taplin, the NZRLâ€™s Administration Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org or 09 525 5592).
The NZRLâ€™s new selection criterion for the tournament follows:
2013 NZRL National Secondary School Tournament
Bruce Pulman Park, Papakura
Allocation of invitations
â€¢ The previous yearâ€™s winner (not included in Zone allocation)
â€¢ Northland Zone – winning team
â€¢ Akarana Zone- Top four from Auckland Schoolsâ€™ Competition (College Rugby League)
â€¢ Counties Manukau Zone- Top four from Auckland Schoolsâ€™ Competition (College Rugby League)
â€¢ Upper Central Zone â€“ winning team
â€¢ Mid Central Zone â€“ winning team
â€¢ Wellington Zone â€“ Top two teams
â€¢ South Island Zone â€“ winning team
â€¢ Wild Card â€“ one school at the discretion of the NZRL (based upon criteria below)
â€¢ Priority of one spot for each Zone
â€¢ If the initial invite to a school from the NZRL is turned down, the invite will automatically go to the next school who meet the NZRL discretion criteria at that Zone.
â€¢ If the next school in line in that Zone are unable to attend the tournament, the entry will be at the discretion of the NZRL.
â€¢ Wild Card â€“ one school at the discretion of the NZRL (based upon criteria)
â€¢ Wild Cards and replacement invitations will be at the discretion of the NZRL and include input from the Zone General Manager
Criteria for NZRL discretion (in priority order)
â€¢ School behaviour (positive or negative)
â€¢ Commitment to secondary school rugby league throughout the year
â€¢ National development interest
â€¢ Punctuality of registration form and tournament payment
â€¢ To benefit secondary schools rugby league
2012 St Pauls (Premier grade)
2012 Auckland Grammar (Developing grade)
2011 Otahuhu College (Premier grade)
2012 24 teams
2011 16 teams
Premier grade: Aorere College, Aranui High School, James Cook High School, Kelston Boys High School, Manurewa High School, Mt Albert Grammar, Mt Roskill Grammar, Otahuhu College, Papatoetoe High School, Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, Southern Cross Campus, St Paul’s College, Taita College, Tangaroa College, Tokoroa High School, Whangarei Boys High School
Developing grade: Auckland Grammar, Papakura High School, Tamaki College, St John’s College, Howick College, Kamo High School, Central Southland College, Fraser High School