The RUPA Player Development Program (PDP) commenced in 2001, providing direct and specialist support to professional players, past and present.
The program is implemented directly within each professional program by a full-time Player Development Manager (PDM), employed by RUPA but embedded within each team setup., overseen by RUPA's General Manager of Player Development, Rosemary Towner.
There are six key pillars which have been identified within the PDP. These pillars are:
- Career & Education: Creating and advancing employment options for life after Rugby
- Wellbeing: Managing the lifestyle and mental pressures of professional sport
- Financial Management: Implementing effective strategies for saving and financial security
- Cultural Awareness: Understanding (Pasifika) cultures and fostering inclusion
- Personal Toolkit: Advancing valuable skills to implement in life on and off the field
- Integrity & Obligations: Educating players of their responsibility to the game
Training & Education is serviced through not only PDMs, but also through RUPA's T & E Grants system which contributes to the costs associated with study, including tuition fees, for eligible past and present players.
A 2012 survey of the full-time professional playing group found that 75% of Australia's Super Rugby players believed they performed better when undertaking some form of training or education program off the field, with further benefits associated with transition out of the game for those who have developed skills which will assist them in gaining employment post-Rugby.
A Player Development Program committee has been established as a collaboration between RUPA and the governing bodies. It's current members are:
- Matti Clements: Deputy Director, Athlete Wellbeing, Australian Institute of Sport (Independent Chair)
- Ben Whitaker: GM - High Performance, Rugby Australia
- Ross Xenos: CEO, The Rugby Union Players' Association
- Tim Rapp: GM - Rugby, NSW Waratahs (Super Rugby Rep)
- Thomas Kingston: Associate, Mallesons (Player Rep)
- Gerard McEvilly: Head of Integrity, Rugby Australia
- Rosemary Towner: GM - Player Development, The Rugby Union Players' Association
- Prof. Braham Dabscheck: Lecturer, University of Melbourne (Academic Rep)
For information on the Player Development Program, talk to your team's Player Development Manager or contact Rosemary Towner.