The Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) today responded to the recent adverse comments aimed at England’s 2011 RWC campaign.

CEO Damian Hopley said: “As part of the Professional Game Board (PGB) review, which all the stakeholders bought into at the outset of the RWC, it was agreed that The RPA would conduct detailed responses from the England Squad involved in the 2011 RWC Campaign. It would be inappropriate for us to speak publicly about those findings until we have fed them into the PGB review at the end of this month. The Professional Game Board is the only body that brings together the clubs, players and RFU and it has been the most effective group in professional rugby in terms of confidentially defining strategy, purpose and delivery for the professional game in England.”In light of recent events in New Zealand, each individual has played or will play a full and frank part in these discussions and will continue to do so going forward. These private conversations are entirely confidential and will not be shared in the public domain. The aim is to achieve positive recommendations going forward in order to learn from the experience in New Zealand to make sure that England are in the best possible shape to mount a credible challenge to lifting the Rugby World Cup in their home country in 2015.

“With regard to the off field incidents that have been widely reported, there has been significant misinformation fed into the press that has compromised some of the players, and this is considerably harmful in undermining the players’ positions. Indeed the very public outpouring of disapproval heaped on these players over the past month is disproportionate to the actual events that happened.

“The RPA are here to support the players. That doesn’t mean we condone any inappropriate behaviour but it means we listen to the players first, we work out what was wrong and what was embellished. If any player has made a mistake we trust them to hold their hand up and accept full responsibility for their actions. It’s imperative that all stakeholders work together to make sure mistakes aren’t repeated. Our fundamental concern is that we don’t make scapegoats of the players or hang individuals out to dry, especially in the current clamour for bloodletting across the game. This PGB review is all about identifying collective responsibility and rebuilding trust and confidence in our players, the England team and the RFU. Everyone must be accountable for their actions.”


20 October 2011, 1:20 pm
By Melissa Platt