Day steps in to help 20 Wasps search for work

RPA Head of Player Affairs Christian Day spoke to the Rugby Paper at the weekend about how the RPA are helping to find players new employment, via the RPA Free Agent List....

TWENTY Wasps players have joined their Worcester counterparts in sign­ing up to the 'Free Agent' list that has proved so successful in helping out-of­ work rugby pros find new employment.

As things stand, rough­ly two-thirds (24) of the Worcester squad thrown out of work after the club went into administration have landed new deals elsewhere after their nan1es and other essen­tial employment infor­mation were shared with Pren1iership heads of recruitment.

The idea first came up for discussion at a sum­mer meeting between the Rugby Players' Associa­tion (RPA) Head of Players Affairs Christian Day and Ben Broster, his opposite number from the French players' union, Provale.

At that stage, around 80 Premiership players had fallen out of contract, pri­marily as victims of the salary cap cut, but with plenty of Worcester and Wasps players now on the market, too, the situation has got a lot worse.

"It has been more successful than I origi­nally thought. Provale launched it maybe two years ago and they saw some real success in it," said Day, the former Pre­miership lock.

"I had three recruiters ring me between the list coming back out yester­day (Thursday) to this morning so it shows they are reading it. But I'm not quite a super-agent yet!

"It is pretty labour in­tensive," he said. "When we did it initially with Worcester, we phoned every player and asked if they wanted to be on it, so we got good numbers.

"For the Wasps players we'd built an automat­ed system at that point where we sent them all a link, and of that of the entire squad only six players clicked on the link and signed up. So yesterday I rang all the players up and, all of a sudden, we had 20 signed. It shows why direct en­gagement is important.

"I think there will be lots of movement but I still think there will be a fair number of players stuck on this list for a good period of time."

Another important step has been the decision by the RFU/PRL to waive the 'movement compensation fee' that currently applies to academy players aged 18-21 when they leave the club that has developed them for another.

"It was absolutely the right thing to do because for those Wasps and Worcester academy play­ers now that there are no prospects, currently of hem playing profession­al rugby for Wasps and worcester so it is a bit un­fair if you make them less employable," said Day.

RPA membership cur­rently stands at just over 660 with more to join up once England's women return from the World Cup. And Day confirmed those Wasps and Worces­ter players affected by their club's administra­tion who remain out of pro rugby will continue to be supported. 

"We will be supporting everyone this season. If they are no longer a professional rugby play­er they still would be an alumni member and we are drastically looking to increase our provision in that area. We've just relaunched the retired player network."

CREDIT: The Rugby Paper 23rd October