Players from Newcastle Falcons who are engaged in The RPA’s Player Development Programme were given a taste of city life this week as over 20 of the squad took part in a Player Networking Evening, hosted by leading commercial law firm Muckle LLP.
Also in attendance supporting the players were former Lions’ and England internationals Dean Richards and Peter Winterbottom who both shared stories with invited guests about their days playing for England and gave a fascinating insight into the game of professional rugby.
The evening was arranged by RPA Player Development Manager Mandy Thompson who explained, “At the RPA, through our Player Development Programme, we aim to make a player’s transition to life after rugby as smooth as possible. It is important to help equip them during their playing career with the skills and connections they will need when they choose or are forced to retire’’.
“An evening such as this is invaluable in giving players an opportunity to mix in a business environment and develop contacts, while also investigating various career paths which will be open to them after rugby. By providing their own post rugby career interest biographies, this helped focus introductions. It enables them to understand more about the real world outside of rugby, and also to appreciate they have transferable skills which are highly sought after in business.
It was opportune timing for Falcons’ prop Jonny Golding who recently announced he would be retiring from professional rugby at the end of the season. Golding said: “Networking events like this are really important to the players and encourage even the younger guys to start thinking about life after rugby. It’s a massive plus for us to get a link to successful business people who also enjoy watching rugby and it’s important to make use of those links.
“The business people we are speaking to here are experts in their field so it’s a great opportunity to get advice from people who do this every day and the players really appreciate being able to pick their brains. When I retire I’m looking forward to also testing myself mentally after all the physical challenges of rugby so I’m really excited about opportunities which might be out there in the business world and I’ll be trying to absorb as much new information as possible from the experts here tonight.