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Last Updated: Friday, 5 December, 2003, 11:56 GMT
College sorry over 'poach' bid
Kristian Phillips
Kristian Phillips scored five tries in the game against Dulwich College
A leading public school in England has apologised to the head master of a Swansea comprehensive for trying to 'poach' one of his top young rugby players.

Dulwich College wrote to 13-year-old Kristian Phillips after he starred in a game that saw Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera beat the London side 65-10.

The teenager has rejected the offer and Dulwich College has apologised to the Welsh language school for the direct approach to the youngster instead of going through formal channels.

Director of rugby at Ystalyfera Ioan Bebb said the school had lost promising young players under similar circumstances to other schools and colleges in the past.

It is here I want to stay and it is quite far to travel
Kristian Phillips

The school's teams have played 27 games this season, winning 25 of them.

Mr Bebb said: "It has not gone unnoticed - not only in Wales - but across the border.

"The approach to Kristian came completely out of the blue and there was no indication at all they were planning anything of this sort.

"The letter that he received certainly indicated that an offer was going to be put in place which, of course, was probably not the right thing to do."

Bursary or scholarship

Head teacher at Ystalyfera, Eurig Davies, said Kristian was in many ways flattered by the interest shown in him but said writing to him directly without informing the school was the wrong thing to do.

"If he wished to go to another school then he would have gone to another school.

"Mr Bebb wrote to Dulwich College and we subsequently had a letter back from the master (the head teacher), saying that he did not know about the approach.

"He said any offer of a bursary or scholarship can only be made by him rather than any other member staff."

'Over enthusiasm'

The head of Dulwich, Graham Able, said the approach should not have been made and has said it was down to the "over enthusiasm" of a young sports master there.

He told BBC Wales he hoped it would not harm the college's links with Ystalyfera because he hoped further rugby games would be arranged in the future.

Kristian said his parents were proud about the interest in him but said he wanted to stay in Swansea.

"There was a brochure showing the facilities and there was a letter asking me about the scholarship.

"But it is here I want to stay and it is quite far to travel."

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