Flying Fijian captain Akapusi Qera

Pacific Island Players sign historic deal with French association

Pacific Rugby Players, the official players body for Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, has signed a major deal with French players association, Provale, which will assist Pacific Island players living in France.

The Memorandum of Association (MoU) will see players receive support with personal development and welfare through the two associations.

This includes help with the transition in and out of French professional rugby, financial management and tax assistance, career development and education, mental health services and legal support.

A new Pacific Rugby Players (PRP) Relationship Manager will work with Provale to provide individual players help with any issues on or off the field, with a focus on, and understanding of, Pacific Island culture.

Flying Fijian captain Akapusi Qera, who plays his club rugby with Agen, says: “This is a huge step forward for all Pacific Island rugby players and their families in France.”

Qera, who also sits on the PRP board, added: “In the past, the support for us may not have been what it could have been, but now we have two major player’s associations working together to provide the best support for Fijian, Samoan and Tongan players at all levels”.

Former Samoan centre and PRP board member, Seilala Mapusua, said: “We have been working hard behind the scenes on better supports for players in France for a long time now. I am proud that it’s coming to fruition and I hope all Pacific Island players will reap the benefits”.

The announcement follows on from last year’s agreement with the Rugby Players Association (RPA) in England, where a similar deal sees Pacific Island players benefit from resources at the RPA.

IRPA Player Representatives Follow Up On 2015 Rugby Athletes Commission

During November 2015 at the Rugby Athletes Commission (RAC) meeting, the following actions were agreed between IRPA and World Rugby:

A joint commitment to developing revised memorandum of understanding between World Rugby and IRPA to provide a stronger blueprint of collaboration on international issues affecting players and the game as a whole. This comes at a time when rugby continues to enjoy unprecedented growth on all fronts.

A joint commitment to collaborate on strengthening the regulatory framework that governs agent activity in the game and in developing initiatives that support and educate players in respect of agents and contractual agreements.

A joint commitment to consult and collaborate on matters regarding the expansion and development of the womens’ game.

A joint commitment to involve the world’s top players in supporting World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby mass participation programme which has successfully attracted a million children to the sport worldwide in 2015.

A commitment to continued player involvement through IRPA in relation to law review and medical working groups among other key player welfare topics

A joint commitment to consult on the development of best-practice guidelines for application within high performance rugby environments. This will include guidelines around a players’ rugby development plan covering areas such as education, financial management. Player education and awareness programmes will cover key integrity topics such as anti-doping, wagering and corruption, concussion management and social media.

In March 2016, IRPA player representatives Paul O’Connell and Sophie Spence attended the World Rugby Committee meeting in Dublin. In addition to providing a player input into other relevant agenda items, they spoke positively on the value of the 2015 RAC and the need to progress the commitments made. Work continues.

To see players talking on the importance of Player Representation, click HERE  

Sevens World Series Player Welfare

During the Wellington 2016 Sevens World Series (SWS), IRPA management met with Sevens World Series players. Points of note included;

1. IRPA is compiling direct player feedback after each tournament for World Rugby management based on certain player welfare standards and logistical expectations.

– the results produce an overall tournament score out of 100 and reports are immediately shared with tournament organisers. At the end of the series IRPA and World Rugby will announce the overall tournament winner.

– this is already resulting in positive improvements and also highlighting ongoing concerns.

2. Some players have had challenges in finalising their contractual arrangements with their National Unions. IRPA is working with World Rugby to assist as appropriate.

3. A commitment to hold the next meeting during the lead up to the London SWS tournament to build on the above. It will focus in particular on the implications of the condensing of ten tournaments into five and a half months, travel and accommodation arrangements, rolling substitutions and turf quality.

Global Focus – Promoting personal development & player representation stories from around the world

In 2011 our colleagues at the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association (NZRPA) published the results of their ground breaking Retired Player’s Survey. The survey focused on the challenges, opportunities and issues players tackled as they transition from professional rugby to life after their playing days. The results from the most comprehensive survey of its kind in the professional rugby era were fascinating. It covered areas such as personal welfare, medical welfare, career planning, education and financial planning.

The in-depth study was a culmination of more than two years’ worth of work and provided highly valuable information that supported the on-going proactive approach for the rugby players Personal Development Programmes throughout the sporting world. Five years on the findings are still highly relevant and applicable.

Here we provide a flashback and link to a summary of the findings:

Northern Hemisphere Rugby family launch European donation site for the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust

The Northern Hemisphere rugby family has come together to recognise the impact that Jonah Lomu had on their game both on and off the pitch by launching their own European online donation site 100% of the contributions made will go directly into the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust to support the Trust’s objectives and Jonah’s children.

The New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) have established the Trust and their Chief Executive Rob Nichol summed up the public sentiment since the Rugby Legend’s passing,
“As we heard in the days following Jonah’s passing he gave so much to the game and sport in general, to people and communities, organisations and charities, around the world. The tributes that followed, such as Eric Rush’s speech on behalf of his rugby colleagues, provided an insight into a man we are all proud of, who was a gift to the game and who really took rugby to the world”

To read more click HERE

Players From Around The World Represent IRPA at the 2015 Rugby Athletes Commission

On Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th November, IRPA members from around the globe and World Rugby took part in the second annual Rugby Athletes Commission held in London.

This forum was jointly created by IRPA and World Rugby with the purpose of addressing issues of importance currently facing players and the game.
The player representatives were made up of both male and female players from the Fifteens and Sevens game. They were Victor Vito (NZ), Kosei Ono (JAP), Rachael Burford (ENG), Charlie Hayter (ENG), John Moonlight (CAN), Sophie Spence (IRE) and Akapusi Qera (FIJ). On behalf of IRPA we want to thank the players who took time out of their busy schedule to attend and represent us and every professional player globally.

Read the full story here

Rugby Players From Around The World To Attend Second Annual Rugby Athletes Commission

International rugby players from around the world will congregate in London on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th November at the second annual Rugby Athletes Commission. IRPA and World Rugby jointly established this forum with the purpose of providing an athlete perspective on issues of importance currently facing them and the game.

Read the full story here

IRPA Video – #RugbyPlayersUnited – For The Good Of The Game’ talks about the benefits of having an International Players Association and what it stands for

During the recent Rugby World Cup in England, IRPA got the opportunity to get on the road and visit some of the participating teams to help shoot our #RugbyPlayersUnited – For The Good Of The Game‘ video.

In the video IRPA members talk about the benefits of having a global association supporting them on issues of international importance as well as talking abut the core pillars that make the game so great – that of Integrity and Respect.

We started up North and met up with New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, Victor Vito, Conrad Smith  and Jerome Kaino. Next up was Scottish captain Greig Laidlaw, followed by Hale T-Pole  from Tonga and Samoan scrum half Kahn Fotuali’i. Day 2 took the guys to Wales and the Celtic Manor where they met Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw  and then onto the Japanese hotel where captain Michael Leitch  and Kosei Ono  took time out to chat. After a good nights sleep the crew drove south to London and caught up with England player Rachael Burford  before departing home.

IRPA would like to thank all of the players who took part in the video and from an association perspective it was great to meet them in person and to chat about how their global association could help them out in any way.

Remember that if you are a professional player playing Fifteens or Sevens anywhere in the world, you are automatically part of the IRPA family. #RugbyPlayersUnited

Watch the full video here


Sexton and McCaw announced as Presidents

The International Rugby Players Association (IRPA) today announced the appointments of Johnny Sexton and Richie McCaw as the inaugural President’s for North and President South respectively.

As two of the most recognised and respected players from around the world, both are seen as ideally placed to oversee and represent the collective voice of their fellow players from around the globe.

Both players are passionate about making a difference on issues of international importance to the players and the game. Sexton and McCaw will take an active part on various IRPA Player Advisory Groups and will use their expert opinion and stature to build on the collaborative relationship with World Rugby, the international Governing Body.

Read the full press release here.


With Rugby World Cup (“RWC”) underway the eyes of the world are on our sport. One of the most topical debates across all contact sports is the issue of concussion management.

All stakeholders will be looking forward to a RWC in which players, medical personnel and team support staff play their part in managing this important aspect of player welfare.

Rugby is making significant progress in the detection and management of concussion and it will be important that other professional rugby competitions move to adopt the standards set for RWC 2015. Rugby should not see the management of concussion as a risk at RWC, but an opportunity to demonstrate how far the game has come in recent times.

Read the full press release here.

Samoa Agreement

In what is seen as an historical step forward for a Tier 2 level team, The Pacific Island Players Association (PIPA) acting on behalf of their Samoan player members, have signed their first ever Relationship Agreement with the Samoan Rugby Union (SRU)

The agreement outlines how both parties will work together in the best interests of Samoan Rugby to help drive the team forward in what is an exciting time starting with the upcoming RWC.

When some of the global IRPA affiliated Player Associations met with the Samoan squad recently in Vancouver (see pic) there was a palpable sense of achievement in the room. It clearly shows the definitive value of when an initiative is player driven and has the backing of extensive peer to peer cross-communication and support. World Rugby is also to be commended for their huge efforts and constructive support throughout the entire discussion process.

Read the full press release here.