Brisbane hosts RUPA Alumni function

By Pete Fairbairn, 20.09.16

Following the success of the Sydney and Perth Past Player Forums held earlier this year, The Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) held a third event for former professionals at the Alliance Hotel, owned by former Australian Rugby Sevens, Reds and Waratahs forward Nick Gregorski, earlier this month.

With the Wallabies hosting South Africa the following evening, Rugby was the talk of the town as ten former professionals spent an hour providing their feedback on transitioning into their next careers, the future of the game in Australia, the key elements of RUPA’s Player Development Program (PDP) and more before enjoying catching up.

Organised by RUPA Player Relations Manager Patrick Phibbs, a former Brumbies and Australian Rugby Sevens player, those who participated were Mark Bartholomeusz, Charlie Fetoai, Sean Hardman, Stephen Hoiles, James Holbeck, Al Manning, Nathan Sharpe, Guy Shepherdson and Adam Wallace-Harrison.

Wallace-Harrison, a former RUPA President and current Co-Opted Board Director who retired three years ago, said it was a really enjoyable and useful couple of hours.

“There was a great mixture of past professionals who played for different lengths of time and retired at completely different times, which helped to make the forum really valuable and interesting,” Wallace-Harrison said.

“It’s always good to be able to come together and canvas different ideas and feelings about transitioning out of Rugby and into the next phase of your life as everybody has a different experience doing this, and chatting about ways in which RUPA can help players do it better across the board is certainly a worthwhile exercise.

“Within Australia, our Rugby network is very special and is one of our game’s greatest strengths which sets our code apart from others. Therefore, it’s definitely very important that we all come together as often as we can, and it’s great that RUPA’ dedicating time and energy to trying to create an environment where people who are retired can still support one another each other; and we also love spending time together and talking about how good we used to be!”

Since 2001, the PDP has aimed to support players in the advancement of their educational and career pursuits in order to assist them in transitioning to life after professional Rugby. Fifteen years on from its’ inception, RUPA is determined to ensure that the PDP continues to be designed, implemented, and complemented in order to best support today’s and tomorrow’s professional Rugby players.

RUPA would like to extend its’ gratitude to all eight former players who gave up their time and to Nick Gregorski for his hospitality in accommodating us.

Useful stats and information, RUPA Player Development Program (PDP):
- In Semester One 2016, 89 Super Rugby players (43%) were enrolled at university and almost 66% were engaged in some form of professional development through vocational placements, work experience or non-university education.
- Other courses RUPA members are currently undertaking include;

Advanced Diploma of Business (Australian Men’s & Women’s Rugby Sevens)
Certificate IV in Youth Work (Waratahs & Brumbies)
Diploma of Business (Reds, Rebels & Brumbies)
Youth Mentoring (Australian Men’s Rugby Sevens)
Carpentry (Brumbies)
Forklift licencing (Reds)
- Recent workshops delivered through the PDP Program include first aid, parenting for those on schedules, budgeting, media training, barista training and more
- 36.51% of current Super Rugby players come from a Pasifika and/or Indigenous background

Pete Fairbairn
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