We speak exclusively to RPA Player Representative for Leicester Tigers and the youngest member of the RPA Players’ Board, George Catchpole. The 22-year-old is in his first season as Leicester’s Player Rep and we find out exactly how he’s found the experience so far.
Firstly George can you explain why you wanted to become an RPA Player Rep?
I really wanted to represent my teammates and my club, not only on the pitch but also help voice their thoughts on important matters throughout the game. While I’ve only been at the club for a short period of time I’m determined to be the guy that all the lads can come up to and express any problems or issues they’re facing.
How have you found your first season on the RPA Players’ Board?
It’s been really good so far to be honest. It’s been a learning curve, but one I’ve really enjoyed. The first introductory meeting was great, meeting all my fellow Player Reps and sharing ideas on how we can all help improve the game throughout England. I’ve also worked really hard with our club Personal Development Manager (PDM), Lynsey Ward, encouraging all the lads to get involved with the RPA, help to develop themselves off the pitch and to start preparing for life after rugby.
In your opinion what are the key issues facing professional rugby players today?
Definitely player welfare. It’s something we as players take very seriously and the more research undertaken on a number of welfare issues, the better off all rugby players will be. Rugby is a short career so it’s important that we enjoy the game while we can, but also be wary of some of the severe consequences that can be caused by playing a high impact sport.
From your initial experience would you encourage other players to join the RPA Players’ Board?
Without a doubt! Until you’ve been in the role, you don’t actually realise how powerful the players’ voice is and how important it is to get our message across. From my short experience of being an RPA Player Rep, I’ve found it very beneficial and something I would encourage all players to put their hand up to do. We all have a voice and we all deserve to be heard.
Are there any highlights that stand out during your time as an RPA Player Rep?
I don’t have one highlight in particular, I think just having the opportunity to be the voice of my teammates and making sure we as a collective across English rugby can make a difference for the benefit of the game.
The RPA Players’ Board is made up of representatives from all 12 Aviva Premiership clubs, the most recently relegated Premiership club, England Sevens and England Women.
For more information on the RPA Players’ Board please click here: http://therpa.co.uk/who-we-are/the-rpa-team/rpa-players-board/