On Monday 15th November, Player Representatives from across the game met virtually at The RPA Players' Board to announce Vickii Cornborough as the newly elected RPA Vice Chair, with Ethan Waller remaining as RPA Chair.
The Red Roses star has been on the RPA Players Board since 2017 but is the first female player to take up a leadership role. Following a sterling series win by the Red Roses over the Black Ferns and Canada earlier this month to take them up to 17 matches unbeaten and the No.1 side in the World Rugby rankings, Vickii’s new role further cements the enormous success of women across the game of rugby.
Cornborough herself debuted for England in 2015 and was named in the 2017 Womens Rugby World Cup featuring in every game. She was awarded a full-time contract with England in 2019 and plays for Harlequins Women at club level. She gained her 50th cap for England against France in the 2020 Six Nations and most recently has been an instrumental figure in England’s recent record win against New Zealand in the Autumn Fixtures. With a World Cup on the horizon in 2021 the prop will be looking to bring her winning mentality not just to that but to the role of RPA Vice Chair.
Working alongside Vickii, Worcester Warriors prop Ethan Waller will be continuing his role as RPA Chair for the second year running. Waller has played a pivotal role in key decisions across the game in the past year and will continue to be at the forefront of ensuring success for the players both on and off the pitch.
There are several new faces joining the board for the 2021/22 season including Exeter Chiefs' Harvey Skinner, Gloucester’s Harry Elrington, London Irish’s James Stokes, Newcastle’s Sean Robinson, Northampton’s Reece Marshall, Sale's Simon Hammerlsey and Wasps Ben Morris. Click here and select ‘The RPA Players’ Board’ to view the full list of Player Representatives for 2021/22.
At the first meeting of the new Players Board, the group discussed the key areas for the year ahead including the salary cap, an agent fees update, key issues and updates around welfare as well as an update from the women’s game.
Reflecting on her new appointment as RPA Vice Chair, Vickii said: “I am delighted to be stepping into the role of Vice Chair and look forward to supporting our Chair Ethan, with a Players Board that is truly representative of all players in the game. I came into the role with the goal of protecting our player welfare, setting standards on and off the pitch and holding stakeholders accountable for making the right decisions for the players. Providing a voice for our members has never been more important, and I am looking forward to contributing to the support and protection of players in the professional game.”
RPA Chair Ethan Waller commented: “Massive congratulations to Vickii on her appointment to Vice Chair, and on being the first woman in a leadership role for the RPA. It's a great choice and I'm delighted to see her in this role, as each time we have met as a players board I've always been impressed with her clear passion for the game and the important issues surrounding it. I'm looking forward to working closely with Vickii at a pivotal time for rugby as a whole and can't wait to begin. I also want to thank Jake Cooper-Woolley for his work as Vice Chair and wish him all the best for the future.”
RPA Group CEO Damian Hopley MBE said: “On behalf of all the RPA members and team, we are so excited to have Vickii elected as our Vice Chair. Women’s Rugby has never been in such a strong position and it’s a testament to her hard work and dedication both on and off the pitch that she has been recognised by fellow players to take on this leadership role. It is fantastic to have Ethan Waller staying on as Chair for a second year, having done an outstanding job over the last 12 challenging months. Ethan has been instrumental in some key decisions across the game and we look forward to another progressive year ahead.”