RUPA welcome International Rugby Players announcement

By Pete Fairbairn, 22.03.18

RUPA has welcomed today’s announcement that International Rugby Players (IRP) have relocated to Dublin in order to be more directly engaged with World Rugby.

International Rugby Players, the world representative body for all professional Rugby players via players’ their membership of national Players’ Associations, represents Rugby players from Tier 1 and Tier 2 Unions on global issues of importance to the players and the game.

“Rugby is such a unique sport which embraces so many international nations and cultures within a consistent set of global values like integrity, passion and respect,” said RUPA President, Damien Fitzpatrick.

“It’s really important that all national Rugby Players’ Associations work collaboratively, under the umbrella of International Rugby Players, to ensure that the views, opinions and rights of players are strongly represented with a united voice to World Rugby.”

RUPA Chief Executive Ross Xenos is a Board Director of International Rugby Players, while Australian Omar Hassanein, a former Randwick and Waratahs player – who was Acting RUPA CEO in 2010 - is the inaugural International Rugby Players CEO.

Previously located in Auckland, New Zealand, the move north is designed to facilitate more regular opportunities to meet with World Rugby, facilitating closer communication and collaboration via key working groups shaping the future of the game.

RWC and Grand Slam winners mark International Rugby Players move to Dublin

Stars of the international game including Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton, Jamie Heaslip, former All Black Conrad Smith and England 15s and 7s player Rachael Burford gathered in Dublin today, as International Rugby Players officially announced its move to the Irish capital.

The official representative body of global players has moved to Dublin from Auckland, New Zealand where it was based since 2001.

The organisation’s new Chief Executive, Omar Hassanein said: “We’ve moved our operations to Dublin where we can meet with World Rugby and other governing bodies on a regular basis, facilitating closer communication on issues that matter.

"There has never been a more important time for players to have a stronger voice in the game. I also want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the work carried out by former Executive Director Rob Nichol in the role over the past 15 years.”

To coincide with the move, International Rugby Players (formerly IRPA) also launched its new website, a platform where players will have the opportunity to tell their own personal stories, in addition to a host of information and news on those issues impacting the global game.

A number of significant initiatives were discussed at the launch in Dublin including player workload, global player surveys, a new scheme to monitor player agents and the women’s game. Ireland’s recent Grand Slam winner, and International Rugby Players Northern Hemisphere President, Jonathan Sexton, was keen to stress the importance of the work carried out by the player’s organisation.

“As the demands of the professional game continue to increase, it’s critical that the players are properly represented at the top table and I’m delighted to be joined by Jamie, Conrad and Rachael as International Rugby Players opens its doors in Dublin,” said Sexton. “Having worked closely with Omar in his time as CEO of Rugby Players Ireland, I’m confident his team will work hard to make sure the players’ voices are heard on issues of importance to the game.”

England XVs and Rugby Sevents star Rachael Burford, who sits on the Rugby Athletes Commission, added: “There are many areas of the women’s game that need to be addressed on an ongoing basis, and I think that International Rugby Players will continue shining a light on these.

"I can’t over stress the importance of players from all parts of the globe having a say in the game, and I know that Omar and the team here in Dublin will work hard to make sure that players are an integral part of the conversation.”

International Rugby Players is the world representative body for professional Rugby players.

The body, made up of national player’s association, represents Rugby players on areas of importance to the players and the game. Find out more at

For further information about International Rugby Players, please contact Eoin McHugh on +353 86 0212196.

Pete Fairbairn
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