Former All Blacks coach and captain address the issues surrounding the broadcasting of high school rugby, and the pressure being put on teenagers.
"I don't know how you put the genie back in the bottle," Sir Graham Henry says.
The Rugby World Cup-winning coach is musing about what could be called the Americanisation of our high school rugby, in a time of televised games, and the lure of professional contracts.
A prime example of how things have changed are the reports that some schoolboys, whose 2020 season has been shortened because of Covid-19, are thinking of returning to school next year just to play rugby, to have more chance of catching the eye of talent scouts.
"When I was involved with school rugby, playing on a Saturday afternoon was bloody important," Henry says.
"I coached the Auckland Grammar First XV from 1974 to 1980 and they were marvellous. They played their guts out.
"But they enjoyed playing well just for the sake of it. That was enough. Now it's all over television, there are columns in the Herald. Putting school players on a pedestal is the worst thing you can do for them. Some still play for the same reasons that 1980 team did, but a significant number now want to make it a career.
"The sad side of things is there are far too many candidates for the spots that are available. Some will put all their eggs in the professional sports basket and a lot are not going to make it."
The stress that goes with making sport a career can be traumatic for some, he says.
"For a professional coach now, their biggest worry is the mental wellbeing of the players. There are tragic stories of what happens when players lose their professional contracts. It's not just rugby, but you look at the kids who go to Australia to play in the NRL, then are never heard of again. I wonder what happens to some of them.
"The top players in the All Blacks when I was there were the ones who had a lot of other things going on in their lives. The guys who struggled were the ones for whom rugby was the only outlet. If they didn't have a great game in the weekend it was as if their life fell apart.
"So I think it's really important that we take a holistic approach to their education. Research shows that the kids who play a variety of sports are the ones who are the most successful in the end. And kids in rural areas, who play with older people, do well too.
"So, diversity of activity and playing with a higher age group of people are two of the major criteria for success in international sport."
The 2003 World Cup All Blacks captain, Reuben Thorne, now coaches the Christ's College First XV. He has no doubt there is more pressure than ever before on First XV players.
"They have social media surrounding them, and every day, whether someone wants to say something negative, or positive, it's there.
"But I think that television adds an extra layer to that. When they know the cameras are on them, and they're being watched by not only the crowd, but also a big TV audience, there's pressure on them to not only not make mistakes, but also to put their hands up and say, 'I'm a kid you should look at for the future.'"
Thorne notes he can't speak for every school, but argues that Christ's College has more ambition for their players than just being part of a successful First XV.
"We also want to educate good young men so they have a future to go to outside rugby. If the kids aren't performing in class there will be consequences. They can't just be there to play rugby."
And although recognising that 2020 has been an extraordinary year, Thorne doesn't agree with the idea of boys returning to school next year only to play rugby, especially if they'd need a dispensation to play because they're over 18 on January 1, 2021.
"I think you could get just as good opportunities at a good club team, or with the Colts, or in under-19s, or whatever the next step up is for you. There are other pathways outside school rugby."
Henry, as the headmaster of Kelston Boys' High School in the 1980s and early 1990s, was a firm believer that sport and cultural activities helped his pupils in the classrooms.
"If you got kids interested in being at school and enjoying themselves, they were better academically. Success at sport lifts the profile of the school, and gives the kids a positive attitude."
During his tenure as head, Kelston won national championships in rugby, basketball, softball, football, and wrestling.
First XV members Kees Meeuws, Va'aiga Tuigamala, Sam Tuitupou, Mils Muliaina, Mose Tuiali'i, Sione Lauaki, Anthony Tuitavake, Stephen Bates, Jason Hewett, and Kevin Senio would all go on to be All Blacks.
But while highly focused elite school sport produced champions at Kelston, Henry also insisted on participation at all levels.
"The staff were all expected to get involved. Maybe not with a sports team, but there was an expectation teachers would get involved with a cultural group, from debating to acting to singing."
He is concerned that today "as a generalisation, there's a focus on the elite, and less on the kids who want to play for enjoyment with their mates, and that's the worry".
"The more you concentrate on the elite, the kids who are not so gifted just give the games away, because they know they can't compete.
"When kids play sport they learn to play with mates, to connect together, and try to produce something they're proud of. Whatever the team is - whether it's the First XV or down the grades.
"That was very important to their development and their mental wellbeing. They had to work hard whatever the grade was. They were in a group trying to not let down their mates. We lose that if we're concentrating on the elite athletes, rather than getting everybody to play sport."
The idea that friendships for life can be forged at a young age is not a rose-tinted platitude, as Henry discovered when his mother, who was 101, recently died.
"Four guys walked into the funeral that I played football with at school in Christchurch in 1964. That was very emotional. That's what can happen through sport, and it makes life a lot better."
Thorne, who played First XV rugby for a 1992 New Plymouth Boys' High School team that won a secondary school world championship, says he thinks that "underneath it all, the kids now are pretty similar to what we were, but society has changed around them.
"We had our parents come along to watch us. We weren't live streamed to thousands of people. At the end, the kids still want to get out and have fun. That's what you should be doing when you're coaching, trying to keep them in sport, with a lifelong passion for the game."