For the Players
For the game

Capital Gains

April 25th, 2013

Aviva’s Head Office in central London provided the backdrop for the final RPA Business Club Networking Evening of the season. Surrounded by panoramic views of the city, players from London Wasps, Harlequins, London Irish and London Welsh met with representatives from over 60 companies to discuss potential career options for life after rugby.

The evenings are part of the RPA Player Development Programme (PDP), which aims to individually assist players in their personal and professional development, helping them to identify a second career and providing them with skills for a smooth transition into life after rugby.

The capital’s clubs turned out in force to show their support for the event. Players in attendance included Chris Bell, Hugo Southwell, Chris Mayor, Greg Bateman, Ryan Davis, Alex Davies, Tyson Keats, Mike Denbee, Michael Hills, Tom Bristow, Dan Browne, Paul Mackey, Simon Whatling, Declan Danaher, Joe Ansbro, Tomas O’Leary, Jebb Sinclair, Scott Lawson and Will Skinner.

London Wasps centre and RPA Player Representative, Chris Bell, is currently studying for a degree in Business and Economics and saw the evening as a chance to build up contacts and hopefully gain some work experience: “Events like this are a great opportunity to meet new people and explore opportunities outside of rugby. I’ve already done some work with Aviva through the Insight Programme and I’m hoping to secure some work experience with them to find out more about the industry.”

Players are all too aware of the importance of preparing for life after rugby, none more so than London Irish’s Joe Ansbro. The Scotland international broke his neck during a pre-season game against Munster in August and is currently continuing his recovery: “It’s incredibly important for players to be thinking about the future. Rugby can be a short career and the risk of serious injury is always there. You still have a lot of life to live when your career comes to an end so it’s vital as players we’re making plans for when that happens.”

Mark Wilson, Aviva Group CEO, met with a number of players to discuss which skills he believed were transferable from rugby to the workplace: “Rugby players have the skills and attitude to make the transition from their clubs to the business world. Their focus week in, week out is on performance, their graft and their dedication to the team to jointly achieve goals are vital skills needed in the commercial world. It has been great to talk to some of the players about their post-rugby career choices and see how hungry they are to understand more about what options are open to them.”

Aviva’s continued support for the RPA Player Development Programme has seen players from around the Premiership benefit from their expertise and tutelage. Former London Irish second row and now Aviva Business Development Manager, Kieran Roche, is proof of how successful the programme has been as he has now made the transition from professional player to a career in the city.

Roche’s former team-mate and London Irish club captain Declan Danaher is one of a number of players who were using the evening as a chance to explore a number of potential career options: “I’m getting to the latter stages of my career and I’m still not 100% certain what I want to do. That’s why nights like this one are so important. It gives us all a chance to explore areas we may not have been aware of and could potentially lead to future opportunities. Like all good things rugby will come to an end one day and it’s so important that we’re prepared for that.”

Mike Denbee of London Welsh expressed an interest in moving into the insurance industry and recently spent a day with Lloyds of London: “I spent the day shadowing an insurance underwriter as well as working with some of the firm’s brokers. It gave me a fantastic insight into the job. It was set up through my PDM (Player Development Manager), Caroline Guthrie, and it was an incredible opportunity. RPA Networking Evenings are great because they give us the chance to make new contacts and hopefully gain some work experience that helps boost your CV.”

RPA Business Partners Aviva, KPMG, ProSport Insurance, Robert Walters, RFU, Accenture, Affinion and 108 Harley Street were just some of the businesses on hand to offer their advice. They were joined by a number of individuals representing many different business sectors including: Property, Education, Legal, Finance, Insurance and Construction.

If you or your company would like to support The RPA Player Development Programme please contact David Barnes on 020 8831 7930 or