The RPA Team

DH

Damian Hopley

GROUP CEO

A graduate of St Andrews and Cambridge University, Damian played for Wasps and England, and was part of England’s World Cup-winning 7s team in 1993. He went on to play in 1995 RWC in South Africa and captain the England 7’s team in 1996 before being forced to retire from professional rugby in 1998 due to career ending knee injuries. The lack of support available to professional players at that time motivated Damian to found the RPA later that same year. Building the business from nothing, he has worked tirelessly with the talented RPA team to deliver enhanced player welfare, support, representation and development for the 1,200 current and former professional rugby players. The RPA is now established as a key stakeholder in supporting both female and male professional rugby players in England.

DHopley@theRPA.co.uk
020 3053 6672

Stuart Munday Web

Stuart Munday

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

Stuart joined the RPA in 2005 from a firm of Chartered Accountants specialising in audit and accountancy work. Prior to his move into practice Stuart held the position of Finance Officer at British Actors’ Equity Association. A member of the RPA Management Board, Stuart is responsible for the management of the daily business operations of the RPA Group as well as the performance management of each RPA department.

SMunday@theRPA.co.uk
020 3053 6674

Richard Bryan Web

Richard Bryan

RUGBY DIRECTOR

Richard is a qualified lawyer and former player, having played for Bath, Newport and Leeds. During his time at Newport, Richard served as a Player Representative on the Board of the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association. During his time at Clarke Willmott solicitors Richard advised the RPA on legal issues.

RBryan@theRPA.co.uk
07921 065 947

Christian 12

Christian Day

PLAYER LIAISON OFFICER

Christian retired from professional rugby at the conclusion of the 2017/18 season to embark on a new full-time position as RPA Player Liaison Officer.

Christian made 226 appearances for Northampton from 2008 to 2018, winning the Premiership title in 2013/14. He also had successful stints with Sale Sharks and Stade Francais.

Christian brings a wealth of experience to the role having served as a member of the RPA Players’ Board since 2011, including three years as RPA Chairman from 2014 to 2017 before stepping into the Vice-Chairman role last season.

CDay@theRPA.co.uk
07841 757 440

Ben McGregor 18-19 Web

Ben McGregor

HEAD OF THE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (Personal Development Manager, Saracens)

Ben is a Loughborough University graduate and ex Leicester Tigers player who joined the RPA in November 2010. Prior to the RPA, Ben gained considerable experience in Management, Business Development and Training, including working with Management Consultancy firm Accenture. In 2012, Ben was seconded to the successful Team GB during the London 2012 Olympics.

BMcGregor@theRPA.co.uk
07889 601 696

Josh Frape Web

Josh Frape

TRANSITION MANAGER

Josh joined the RPA in 2009. A graduate in Sports Science and Marketing, Josh also played for Gloucester before being forced to retire through injury. Following his retirement Josh worked with Top Marque Sports, which give him a valuable insight into the challenges facing players as they transition out of rugby.

JFrape@theRPA.co.uk
07725 142 065

Lynsey Hyslop Web

Lynsey Hyslop

SENIOR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER (Leicester Tigers & Northampton Saints)

Before joining the RPA in 2012 Lynsey worked with a Crime Reduction Charity as an Education Coordinator, designing curriculum and managing alternative education provisions. Her Psychology and Criminology degree was put to good use when she worked in a male prison for four years assisting prisoners with their preparation for release. With a masters degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology, Lynsey is currently studying for a PhD in Business and Economics at Loughborough University. She also leads the RPA’s education pillar of the PDP.

LHyslop@theRPA.co.uk 
07725 142 064

 

Caroline Guthrie Web

Caroline Guthrie

SENIOR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER (England Sevens & Harlequins)

Caroline joined the RPA in 2007, having gained a BA (Hons) in Sociology from Nottingham University and was soon promoted to the role of Player Services Manager. Since 2012 Caroline took on the role of Personal Development Manager and represents England 7s and Harlequins.

CGuthrie@theRPA.co.uk
07590 890 812

Kim Johnson-Pool Web

Kim Johnson-Pool

SENIOR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER (England Women & London Irish)

Kim joined the team in 2013. Coming from a sporting background in International tennis Kim is also a graduate in Sport and Exercise Science from Loughborough University. Before joining the RPA Kim gained experience across the sporting landscape with Octagon, IMG and most recently in Athlete Investment at UK Sport.

KJohnson-Pool@theRPA.co.uk
07889 601 708

Julian Web

Julian Springer

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER (Bath Rugby & Bristol Bears)

Julian joined the RPA in August 2015 as a Personal Development Manager for Bath Rugby and Bristol Rugby. Julian previously worked within the sport sector as a lawyer at Clarke Willmott, having completed his legal training at Eversheds in the city.

JSpringer@theRPA.co.uk
07801 546 169

Jake Web

Jake Abbott

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER (Wasps, Worcester Warriors and Yorkshire Carnegie Academy)

Jake joined the RPA in June 2016 as our Personal Development Manager for Worcester Warriors and Wasps.

As a former Worcester Warriors and England 7’s player, Jake returns to the RPA after spending time as an RPA Player Representative during his 72 game career at the Warriors.

JAbbott@theRPA.co.uk 
07889 601 709

 

Craig Townsend Web

Craig Townsend

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER (Gloucester Rugby & Exeter Chiefs)

Craig joins the RPA as our new Personal Development Manager for Gloucester Rugby and Exeter Chiefs.

Craig has extensive experience in performance sport, business development and education. A former player, England 7’s Team Manager and University of Exeter High Performance Sport Manager, Craig will hit the ground running and further enhance the credibility of our already talented team.

CTownsend@theRPA.co.uk 
07912 293 820

Mike McCarthy Web

Mike McCarthy

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER (Newcastle Falcons & Sale Sharks)

Mike was appointed the Personal Development Manager for Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks in August 2018.

An ex-Ireland, Leinster, Connacht, Newcastle and Wasps player, Mike retired from professional rugby in 2017. He has since combined working for Vodafone with coaching in Ireland. He joins the RPA following a 17 year playing career and brings with him a wealth of experience of professional rugby and the off-field personal development and welfare needs of players.

 

MMccarthy@theRPA.co.uk 
07826 848 499

George Morgan Web

Georgina Morgan - Currently on Maternity Leave

HEAD OF COMMERCIAL AND TEAM ENGLAND

Georgina was appointed Head of Commercial in August 2015 and combines this with her role as Team England Account Manager. Prior to the RPA she spent five years at Synergy Sponsorship where she has managed a variety of different commercial sponsorship’s and ambassador programmes.

GMorgan@theRPA.co.uk 
020 3053 6679

 

Tom McDowell Web

Tom McDowell

HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS

Tom joined as our RPA Head of Communications in June 2016.

Tom spent almost nine years in-house at Sky in various PR and communications roles, including three as a department head. During his time at Sky, Tom worked on a number of high-profile campaigns, including Game of Thrones, Barclays Premier League, The Ryder Cup and the launches of Sky Atlantic and Sky Sports F1.

TMcDowell@theRPA.co.uk 
020 3053 6678

 

Elissa Middleton Web

Elissa Middleton

PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER

Elissa joined the RPA as Partnerships Manager in April 2013 and is responsible for the account management of various blue chip organisations including Aviva, BMW, KPMG, Sunday Times, and Champagne Bollinger. Having previously worked with Maurissa F1 she brings with her a wealth of experience in account management, public relations, event management, and marketing communications.

EMiddleton@theRPA.co.uk
020 3053 6683

Martin Olima Web

Martin Olima

COMMERCIAL MANAGER

Martin joined the RPA in March 2017 and has over 11 years sales experience in the sporting, financial and corporate hospitality fields, most notably at Rugby Travel and Hospitality (RTH) working on RWC 2015.

He is responsible for generating new business leads and sales, focusing on the RPA Players’ Awards and Players’ Lounge.

MOlima@theRPA.co.uk
020 3053 6675

Natalie Beckett Web

Natalie Beckett

PLAYER SERVICES MANAGER

Natalie joined the RPA from England Hockey where she worked as a Relationship Manager, having previously worked for England Netball, Kroll and Deloitte.

In her role as Player Services Manager Natalie is responsible for managing the daily delivery of all Player Services available to RPA members.

NBeckett@theRPA.co.uk
020 3053 6685

 

Tom Soulsby Web

Tom Soulsby

DIGITAL CONTENT EDITOR

Tom joined the RPA in April 2014 having previously worked for the ACT Brumbies in his native Australia. With a degree in Sports Media from the University of Canberra, Tom is responsible for all areas of content production, including managing the RPA’s social media channels, producing the Players’ Room Magazine, maintaining consistent player communication, email marketing, and managing the RPA & Restart Rugby websites.

TSoulsby@theRPA.co.uk
020 3053 6681

Lauren Gough Web

Lauren Gough

FINANCE AND HR OFFICER

Lauren joined the RPA in September 2016 to assist the Finance and HR Director. Lauren has previously held a similar position at a successful recruitment and training company for the past six years. Her duties at the RPA include Sales & Purchase ledger, credit control, and payments for both RPA Management & Restart Rugby.

LGough@theRPA.co.uk
020 3053 6676

Emma KS Web

Emma Kernan-Staines

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Emma joined the RPA in January 2018 as our new Executive Assistant. Emma previously worked at Sport England, where she was the Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive and Chairman since 2015.  Prior to this, she worked at the Football Association for 12 years, with her main role being Executive PA to Sir Trevor Brooking from 2004 to 2014. Emma was also the co-founder of the Sport PA Network.

EKernanstaines@theRPA.co.uk
020 3053 6677

Ursula Web

Ursula Fairlie

FUNDRAISING EXECUTIVE

Ursula joined the RPA in March 2018 as the new Fundraising Executive for Restart Rugby. Previously at Friends of ANCHOR, a north-east Scotland cancer charity, Ursula held the position of Fundraising and PR Executive. During her time there, the charity grew significantly with income increasing by 40%, with Ursula’s involvement being across many areas of the organization including fundraising, events and communications.

UFairlie@theRPA.co.uk
020 3053 6682

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Bethany Wright

FUNDRAISING EXECUTIVE

Bethany joined the RPA in June 2018 as our Fundraising Executive. She will work alongside Ursula Fairlie to promote and drive the profile of Restart Rugby.

BWright@theRPA.co.uk
020 3053 6680

Gaia Bursell Web

Gaia Bursell

TEAM ENGLAND RUGBY

Gaia will work exclusively on all Team England Rugby and England Rugby Hospitality matters. Gaia previously held the RPA role of Team England Account Manager between 2004 and 2008 before moving on to work as a Senior Agent at ITM Sports, Commercial Director at Activate Management and more recently as Senior Brand Partnership Manager at Jamie Oliver.

GBursell@theRPA.co.uk
020 3053 6679