While rugby needs to be the priority for our RPA (Rugby Players’ Association) members at this stage of their career, the RPA Player Development Programme encourages players to put their free time to productive use now to prepare for later life. This basically means downing the play stations and picking up some useful qualifications, trades or work experience.

Many players across the country are taking part in RPA organised courses including carpentry, plastering and cooking, while Andy Beattie, Simon Taylor, Dan Hipkiss, Nick Abendanon, Ross Batty and Dave Attwood have all been honing their plumbing skills. Other players are involved in Open University and Bath University Degree Courses and participating in work experience mentoring schemes with companies such as Aviva and locally with Thrings.

Ben Skirving is one of those players successfully balancing rugby with preparation for a future career when he finally has to hang up his boots.  Skirving has decided a career in teaching and coaching will be the next step, saying: “I’ve always enjoyed the community side of rugby and I’m heavily involved with that area of the game here in Bath.  This has given me an insight into teaching and coaching, visiting local schools and clubs and being part of coaching sessions on the field and also lessons in the classroom, which I’ve found both rewarding and enjoyable.