RPA Statement on Return of England Men EPS Players

With the Gallagher Premiership underway, The RPA would like to provide clarity regarding the return of men’s England players to domestic competition. 


The Player Performance Management Group (PPMG) exists to consider player load and rest management for the men’s elite game. Premiership Rugby, the RFU and the RPA are all represented on this group. This season, the PPMG was asked to consider multiple exemption applications for variation of the England Elite Player Squad 10-week non-playing principle. The RPA acknowledge that an individual’s match, training and psychological loads will differ, and the group assessed all applications accordingly. There were some challenging discussions and not all applications for an exemption were agreed upon.


Prior to the decision, The RPA had consulted with all players for whom an exemption was sought. Each player was informed of the process followed and the RPA’s position in relation to their individual circumstances. 


All parties agree that the welfare of players is an absolute priority and that the processing of applications is something which needs to be worked upon collectively. The RPA believes this would be best served by a review of the processes involved in the seeking of exemptions, consulting with numerous stakeholders, including the players, Sports Science Advisory Group (SSAG) and the Professional Game Board (PGB). PGB has now agreed for this process to be reviewed.