RPA Column - July

As pre-season starts for many clubs in the next few weeks, we asked Luke Cheyne, Head of Gain Line, to review the year so far for the Gain Line project and looked ahead to the upcoming season...

The RPA Gain Line Programme provides the opportunity for you to develop yourself as a person, both within and beyond your playing capabilities. The programme is delivered by the Rugby Players Association (RPA), via the immensely committed and talented group of Development Managers and supported by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Premiership Rugby. The programme was re-branded from the ‘RPA Personal Development Programme’ in 2019 to better reflect the terminology, and more importantly the mindset associated with incremental progression in our sport.

Irrespective of how long and successful your playing career is, there will come a time that you will hang up your boots for the final time and the Gain Line Programme will help you put plans in place to navigate that transition on your own terms. Through Gain Line, you as players have the opportunity to access support linked with your welfare, off-field personal development, education, career planning, finances and the development of hugely important life skills.

These Gain Line initiatives not only benefit you by encouraging you to pursue a balanced lifestyle and prepare for life after rugby, but they have also been proven to enhance on-field playing performance. Research has shown that athletes who engage in some form of Personal Development, will go on to have longer, more successful careers, whilst developing skills and experience which will support your life beyond the 80 minutes.

More than 700 players are currently supported by the programme, with senior academy players now required to pursue a ‘dual careers’ philosophy which ensures they will be preparing for their long-term future from the moment they enter the game. From the very first day of a player’s professional contract, we aim to support the person behind the player, by developing a high level of self-sufficiency, self-awareness and to ensure players fulfil their potential, on and off the pitch.

Matt Garvey has joined the RPA recently as the new Development Manager for Bath and Bristol, following a playing career with London Irish, Bath Rugby, Gloucester and Worcester Warriors. We will also be adding a dedicated Wellbeing and Transition Manager to the RPA team this September, to provide a hugely valuable resource for players approaching the end of their playing careers, those in the middle of transition, and of course our RPA Retired Players Network.

During last season, despite the ongoing disruptions related to lockdowns and restrictions, our Development Managers were able to successfully support players towards their own Personal Development, and this is highlighted by the Vodafone Business Gain Line Award winners; Jake Heenan & Luke Morahan of Bristol Bears, Billy Keast of Exeter Chiefs and Lewis Ludlow of Gloucester Rugby. Ahead of the 2022-23 season, we are hugely excited by the re-introduction of the RPA Education Grants in the form of Gain Line Scholarship opportunities. Speak to your Development Manager to find out more.

Every RPA member gets the opportunity to sit down on a one-to-one basis to discuss the balance between their professional, and personal lives. Take advantage of this support and reach out to your RPA Development Manager to see how they can best support you.

To find out more about the Gain Line programme, please contact Luke Cheyne on lcheyne@therpa.co.uk