Fantastic Eight: The latest BALM Graduates


With the 2014/15 season officially over, a group of RPA Members including current players and alumni recently graduated from the BA (Hons) Leadership and Management degree (BALM) at Northumbria University.

Developed in 2012 with help from RPA Player Development Manager for Newcastle Falcons, Yorkshire Carnegie EAP and RPA Alumni Manager, Mandy Thompson, the degree is designed specially to match a professional rugby player’s needs and provide an opportunity for members to study around their rugby careers.

Since then the degree has seen over 21 players graduate, including seven awarded First Class Honours and over 75 members studying at various stages in the three years since its inception. With the RPA cohort running two groups each year (Sept & Jan), 2015 will stand out as a remarkable year with over 29 members on track to graduate.

This year to date, the eight graduates awarded in March and June included Jonny Arr, Nick Koster, Matt Mullan, Nikki Walker, Jordi Pasqualin, Jake Abbott and Kane Palma-Newport.

Bath Rugby prop and RPA Player Representative, Kane Palma-Newport, was one player who thoroughly enjoyed the degree.

Speaking recently to the RPA, Kane said finishing the degree gave him a tremendous sense of achievement and reward.

“It’s been a terrific feeling for me personally, I’ve worked extremely hard to juggle my degree around my rugby and to finally finish is fantastic.