England stars Dylan Hartley, Tom Wood and Mathew Tait were on hand last week to welcome a new class of academy recruits at the RPA's Academy Induction Day. Held annually at Rugby School, the initiative is part of the RPA's Gain Line programme and has seen more than 1,000 players take part to date.
More than 80 young players were in attendance as the trio gave a fascinating insight into life as a professional rugby player during one of a number of sessions designed to give new recruits the best possible start to their careers. RPA Chairman Mark Lambert was also present to provide a first-hand perspective on how the game is run and the role of the RPA Players' Board, while former Army officer and Invictus Games team captain and medallist, David Wiseman, gave the keynote speech.
Additional sessions led by industry experts focused on:
Finding Your Place In Professional Rugby
Personal Responsibility & the Law
In the Media Spotlight
Mathew Tait said: "It was a great pleasure for me to be part of the RPA induction day for academy graduates at Rugby School. Hopefully by sharing my experiences and insights to the expectations of being a professional athlete the next generation of players can plan and take action for the journey they are about to undertake”.
RPA Rugby Director Richard Bryan said: “The RPA Academy Induction Day is a vital pillar of the Gain Line programme, helping the newest professional rugby players in England to adapt to their chosen career. We know that the transition into professional rugby for these young men and women can be tough, with numerous challenges awaiting these players both on and off the pitch.
We are very grateful for the support of the RFU, Premiership Rugby, the Clubs and the Tom Maynard Trust, as well as RPA Chairman Mark Lambert and England internationals Dylan Hartley, Tom Wood and Mat Tait, without whom the day would not be possible. The academy players received a unique insight into the reality of the life, career, opportunities and pitfalls of a professional player. At the end of the day these players left with a greater understanding of their new profession and the support available to them from the RPA throughout their careers.”
To find out more about Gain Line or how you can get involved, please contact Ben McGregor on 020 3053 6670 or firstname.lastname@example.org