Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

Kolisi, Carter, Wilkinson help launch Global Rugby Players Foundation

By Liam Heagney
Founders Jonny Wilkinson, Kristine Sommer, Census Johnston, Conrad Smith, Rachael Burford and George Gregan at the Global Rugby Players Foundation launch in London (Photo by John Phillips/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Current and former rugby players from around the world – including the legendary Rugby World Cup-winning Siya Kolisi of South Africa, New Zealanders Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, and England’s Jonny Wilkinson – have come together to launch a new charity, the Global Rugby Players Foundation.

ADVERTISEMENT

Supported by both World Rugby and International Rugby Players, former Wallabies captain George Gregan will chair the new independent organisation’s charity board of trustees which has appointed Sara Heath as its chief executive officer.

With its list of 10 founding members – the aforementioned Kolisi, Carter, McCaw and Wilkinson, as well as Rachael Burford, Conrad Smith, Kristine Sommer, Census Johnston, Sharni Williams and Thierry Dusautoir, the Global Rugby Players Foundation will look to empower rugby players who contributed to the success of the game to have a healthy and fulfilling life when they step away from the sport.

Video Spacer

Antoine Dupont is the GREATEST rugby player EVER – Leinster vs Toulouse reaction

Jim Hamilton and Bernard Jackman react to Toulouse beating Leinster in the final of the Investec Champions Cup and discuss Antoine Dupont who was named player of the match.

Video Spacer

Antoine Dupont is the GREATEST rugby player EVER – Leinster vs Toulouse reaction

Jim Hamilton and Bernard Jackman react to Toulouse beating Leinster in the final of the Investec Champions Cup and discuss Antoine Dupont who was named player of the match.

Local solutions to global problems will be used to support players regardless of their location. The foundation will kick off on June 1 with four pilot programmes in Ireland, South Africa, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand, with central delivery of support beginning in the autumn with further funding rounds in the winter of 2024.

A holistic programme of support, wrapping around all aspects of former players’ lives, will be delivered across five main pillars:

  • On-the-ground funding – This will be grant funding through players’ associations or trusted partners, with programmes lasting at least a year, tailored for regional differences.
  • GRPF central delivered programmes – Including providing access to health and well-being programmes, health research including women’s health, and proactive mental health programmes.
  • Career and business coaching – This will be delivered individually and in groups, to support players in defining their future lives beyond the game.
  • Community support – Including the development of a community app to stay connected with other foundation members.
  • Partnership programmes – Where the foundation will work with organisations, sponsors and funders to provide opportunities for former players.

Global Rugby Players Foundation CEO Heath said: “Some players move onto new lives after rugby very successfully, but what a lot of people don’t realise is that a lot of players face many challenges when they step away from playing the game.

“Rugby has a responsibility to these players and the Global Rugby Players Foundation seeks to reframe the concept of life after rugby by looking at it as a positive challenge and an opportunity to forge something new and exciting, Beyond the Game.”

International Rugby Players CEO Omar Hassanein added: “The launch of the foundation is a milestone in how we support the welfare of elite and professional rugby players around the world. Over recent years, former players have highlighted the need for further support as they finish their playing careers.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Some of the most common challenges include a loss of identity and changes to a person’s sense of purpose and direction. Players can feel lost, and with that comes various challenges. The GRPF will help tackle these issues that arise, beyond the game.”

World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin said: “World Rugby is delighted to see the Global Rugby Players Foundation up and running. When the players came to us with their idea, an independent charity to support players with their life beyond the game, we were only too happy to do everything we could to support them.

“Now the foundation’s work is beginning, I look forward to watching it go from strength to strength in the coming months and years. World Rugby will continue to play our part in supporting the wellbeing of our current and former players.”

  • Click here for full details of the Global Rugby Players Foundation
ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

1 Comment
J
JPM 19 days ago

Excellent initiative

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

FEATURE
FEATURE How England can shatter the All Blacks' Eden Park streak How England can shatter the All Blacks' Eden Park streak
Search