ALREADY wealthy former professional rugby players will be given a step into high-profile positions at big businesses within Wales and the WRU itself thanks to the launch of the WRU’s new Professional Player Development Programme.
The initiative will provide a pipeline of talented leaders into Welsh industry as well as helping to increase retention of players within Wales during their playing careers.
The programme consists of five elements including mentoring – provided by senior leaders from business and sport – psychometric testing to help determine future job compatibility and performance, support to obtain academic qualifications, work placements, and financial management and advice.
Welsh national age grade sides, women and all regional professional players will be covered by the scheme in future and, resource permitting, the WRU is also currently looking to support recently retired Welsh players where possible.
“We have been clear about our desire to retain talented players in Wales and this programme is part of our commitment to that goal,” said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips.
“A rugby player’s career is relatively short compared to that of somebody in more traditional employment and we feel we have a duty of care to ensure a successful playing career is followed by a successful career post retirement from the game.”
The WRU has agreements in place with the majority of Welsh universities, as well as other further education establishments, to provide access to education and training on a part time basis as part of the programme and the scheme will eventually extend down to regional players, women and into the academies.
Many senior leaders from the worlds of business and sport have already signed up to the mentoring part of the programme, with the Union appealing globally for further interested parties with Welsh connections to get in touch and join the scheme.
“We went right to the top and asked the Universities if we could send players their way, asked that they be flexible about the players’ time when they are still playing, and for them to help facilitate the whole process – we were warmly received,” said Phillips.
“There are up to 300 careers available, everything from the traditional trades like bricklaying and plumbing to those that require academic qualifications like accountancy, law and medicine and we are appealing for new mentors to come forward.
“We see our players demonstrate courage, integrity, dedication and team work week-in-week out on the pitch.
“These are characteristics which are valuable in any modern business environment and I am confident that any player who embarks on the programme will be a huge asset to any organisation.
“With the level of drive the players show, their leadership and resilience as international sportsmen, they are very likely to be successful in their careers.
“We want to enable lifelong success as opposed to just playing success. We are trying to offer the players a 40- year career, 15 of which will be playing rugby and the other 25 doing something else.”
The Welsh senior international squad were told of the plans – warmly welcomed by Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton, the coach and captain – at a recent meeting.
Phillips has also spoken to many ex-Welsh Internationals who have helped reinforce the need for such an initiative.
And the WRU has set up a new department and solid structures to lead players into new careers of all sorts when their active playing careers end.
“Rugby should not mean that you have a decent career then we throw you to the wolves,” he added.
“We are trying to take away the pressure on players and their families when they are trying to earn it all when still playing.
“We are going to be working on the next thing in which they can be successful, the next thing that gives them a buzz.”
Three in a row for Kidwelly
KIDWELLY Town earned their third straight win in Carmarthenhire League Division 1 on Saturday (Oct 16) as they came from behind to beat Tumble 4-1.
Tumble had lost their last three matches prior to Saturday’s game and it was they who took the lead when Garin Morris scored in the tenth minute.
Chris Cray equalised for Kidwelly and it remained 1-1 until half time.
Both sides knew the next goal would be crucial but it was the home side who got it as Rob Davis set up Alex Kay to score.
And just a minute later it was 3-1 as Connor Howells scored.
That all but won the game for the home side who made sure of the points in injury time as Kay fired in his second goal of the game from the penalty spot.
Their fourth win of the season sees them stay in eighth place but they are now only three points behind third placed FC Carmarthen.
On Saturday, October 23, Kidwelly travel to Llangennech who sit just a point and two places above them in the table.
Photo by Darren Harries
Llangennech youth go top
LLANGENNECH Youth moved to the top of the South East Carmarthenshire league on Saturday (Oct 16) as they thrashed Ammanford 47-0.
The home side ran in seven tries, six of which were converted, as they earned a third bonus point win in a row.
Rhys Harris scored a hat trick of tries and Kyle North also crossed the whitewash twice.
There were also tries for Ryan Guard and Kallum Morgan as the home side ran out comfortable winners.
Cameron Mills scored four of the conversion while the other two were scored by Tyler Payne.
The win sees Llangennech leapfrog Ammanford into top spot.
Llangennech will look to keep hold of their 100% record on Saturday, October 23, when they travel to Brynamman.
Photo by Darren Harries
Felinfoel thump Llandeilo
FELINFOEL continued their unbeaten start to the season as they thumped Llandeilo Town 8-1 on Saturday (Oct 16).
Jordan Badman opened the scoring for the home side after six minutes but their lead only lasted eight minutes.
Harri Morgan set up Will Garrard to score but Felinfoel were soon ahead once more.
Badman scored his second of the game midway through the half before Chris James made it 3-1 from the penalty spot.
Seven minutes into the second half Badman made it 4-1 as he completed his hat trick to all but end any hopes Llandeilo had of getting back into the game.
Tom Roberts scored three minutes later and four minutes after that it was six as Badman scored his fourth of the game.
Matthew Ellis scored with twenty minutes to go and the scoring was complete nine minutes from time as Lloyd Francis made it 8-1.
The win for Felinfoel is their ninth in ten games and maintains their unbeaten start to the season.
On Saturday, October 23, they will put their unbeaten run on the line again as they travel to fifth placed Pwll Athletic.
Photo by Darren Harries
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