- RPA Players’ Awards take place on 10 May
- To book your spot at the awards, email Martin Olima
The winner will be announced at the the RPA Players’ Awards in association with England Rugby, on Wednesday 10 May at Battersea Evolution, London.
The award recognises individuals who have shown outstanding commitment to off-field development, and in Court (London Irish), De Luca (Wasps) and Smith (former Worcester Warrior and Harlequin) these are qualities that shine through.
“I’m flattered and humbled to be nominated for this brilliant award,” said Court, who in addition to studying for a masters in Counselling Psychology, has developed a speech therapy educational app.
“I appreciate all the fantastic support and help I've received throughout my career, and it’s all contributed to helping me plan for a successful future post-rugby. The RPA has been a massive help to me, and I’m really grateful that all the work I have put in off the pitch has been recognised,”
De Luca, who is set to retire from international rugby at the conclusion of this season, will begin a new chapter at Uppingham School as Director of Rugby and Business & Economics teacher.
“It’s great to be recognised for my achievements off the pitch; I have worked really hard away from the game this year and I've tried my best to encourage my teammates to plan for their future as well,” he explained.
“If I can inspire other lads through this nomination then that would be a great feeling and a really positive step. Rugby is such an absorbing game so it’s extremely important the RPA continues to help each and every player make the most of every opportunity off the pitch.”
Smith, who was forced to retire in August 2016 due to injury, has recently set up a coffee shop business in Worcester.
The former wing graduated from the Open University in 2016 with a first-class honours degree in Politics and Economics, and is now focusing his energy into his own venture.
“It’s a big surprise as I definitely wasn’t expecting to be nominated, but to be recognised for the things you do after rugby is a great feeling,” he added.
“Life after rugby is a much bigger subject than it was when I first started playing and I think to have an award paying tribute to players who have been proactive, is a really positive thing. Setting up my coffee shop has been really challenging but extremely exciting and something I’m loving.”