Youngsters from Premiership Rugby clubs met for an introduction to the professional game on Tuesday 23rd August at The Rugby School, for the first RPA Academy Induction Day in three years.
This year’s edition, which was supported by the by RFU, Premiership Rugby and the Tom Maynard Trust, saw 125 players from the Premiership Rugby clubs gather together at the historic school, the largest attendance since the academy day was first launched back in 2013.
Set up in memory of former Glamorgan and Surrey cricketer, Tom Maynard, who was tragically killed in June 2012, the trust plays an essential role in supporting the event which provides an opportunity for academy players to learn about life as a professional player.
The day consisted of a Q&A featuring former England international Luther Burrell, Wasps second-row Elliott Stooke and England U20 Head Coach Alan Dickens, where they gave the players a taste of what it’s like to be a professional rugby player.
There were also several workshops throughout the day to help guide the players on their journey from academy to professional, including a session from former Wasps player Kearnan Myall on mental wellbeing, as well as a session from B5 Consultancy on social media and relationships. The RPA also gave a session on agents whilst Alan Dickens spoke to the young players on what it takes to make it to the top.
The players also received an introduction to the RPA’s Gain Line programme, which supports and guides members with their personal and professional development. It also helps fulfil their potential and prepare them for the transition to life after rugby.
Rich Bryan, RPA Player Welfare Director, said: “After two years of not being able to hold the RPA Academy Induction Day in person, it was great to return to Rugby School and be able to meet the newest professional rugby players in England, to introduce them to the RPA and provide insights into their chosen career. We are very grateful for the support of the RFU, Premiership Rugby, the Clubs and the Tom Maynard Trust, B5 Consultancy and of course Rugby School, as well as RPA Chairman Ethan Waller, Kearnan Myall, Alan Dickens, Elliott Stooke and Luther Burrell. Without their support the day would not be possible.
We know that the transition into professional rugby for these young players can be tough. During the day they received an insight into the reality of the life, career, opportunities and pitfalls of a professional player. The support available to these players from the RPA now and throughout their careers, remains absolutely crucial."
Former England international Luther Burrell said: “This day is hugely important for all young academy players. The Gain Line team have been very important for my career. It’s important for me to pass on my knowledge and what I’ve learned and how I’ve used these guys throughout my career, because sometimes you can play for twelve months or twelve years you never know when your time is over. It’s important that you invest in things off the field as well as off, and that’s where the Gain Line team and the RPA come into that. For me, they’ve been a huge help and I can’t speak highly enough of them.”
To learn more about the RPA Academy Induction Day please contact Natalie Beckett on nbeckett@theRPA.co.uk.