The RPA launches Transition Talks initiative

  • Retired players to return to former clubs in new initiative
  • Scheme is backed by RFU and Premiership Rugby

The Rugby Players’ Association (The RPA) has launched a new initiative that will see retired players returning to their former clubs to offer current squads first-hand insight into the challenges and opportunities facing them when they have finished playing.

Taking place throughout the 2017-18 season, Transition Talks will form part of the RPA’s wider support offering through the Personal Development Programme (PDP). Backed by Premiership Rugby and the RFU, the RPA PDP provides essential wellbeing and personal development support to RPA members and plays an integral role in preparing them for life after rugby.

Transition Talks will see former players sharing their personal experiences of transition while giving current players the opportunity to ask about the fundamentals of retirement, from finding work and managing finances, to coping with the emotional impact of leaving the game and the associated loss of identity some may experience.

Former Newcastle Falcon and England 7s captain and current RPA Alumni Representative Rob Vickerman shared his wealth of experience at the inaugural Transition Talk, given to England 7s earlier this month.

“Having been through my own transition recently I know first-hand what it feels like, so I wanted to help in any way I can," said Vickerman. 

"The first presentation with England 7s was difficult, it was probably one of the harder talks I have ever given. I played with a lot of the players, and being open and honest with them was tough."

Transition Talks will be delivered to all 12 Premiership clubs, as well as the Bristol Rugby, Yorkshire Carnegie Academy, England 7s and England Women’s squads.

“I don’t think any player could claim to have had a smooth transition out of the professional game; rugby is one of the best environments you could ever experience," added Vickerman.

"Players rely on their weekly schedule and when that all comes to an end it’s a very strange and empty feeling. The RPA’s Transition Talks will play a vital role in helping players understand some of the difficulties they may face, but also encourage them to start planning for their future post-rugby. I am exceptionally proud to be helping our players and working with the RPA to share my story and increase awareness.”