Worcester prop Ethan Waller has been elected the new RPA chairman, taking over from ex-Harlequins front row Mark Lambert. Waller will be supported by fellow prop Jake Cooper-Woolley of Sale, who takes over as vice-chair from Phil Burgess, while the RPA board has a number of new faces.

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They include Tom Ellis (Bath), Dave Attwood (Bristol), Alex Cuthbert (Exeter), Aaron Morris (Harlequins), Harry Elrington (London Irish) and Tom Cruse (Wasps).

This week’s first meeting of the new players’ board generated discussions on the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the recent RFU council decision to ring-fence the Premiership this season and the RPA’s ongoing work regarding brain health.

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Two advisory boards were unanimously voted into existence, a diversity and inclusion board and a welfare advisory board.

Waller said: “I’m delighted to be stepping into this new role after my last few years with the RPA. Mark Lambert has done an exceptional job as chairman and having him to learn from will be invaluable. 

“I care deeply about player welfare and the sport that we are all lucky enough to call a profession, but I do believe there are some fundamental improvements that can be made with the assistance of the RPA as a collective. I’m looking forward to doing my part to make the profession and the game safer, more enjoyable, and rewarding for each and every player.”

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New vice-chair Cooper-Woolley added: “There is no better time to come together and support engagement with players around the good work that the RPA already does and ensure we collectively continue to drive the game forward. It’s an incredibly challenging but exciting time for professional rugby and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.”

RPA CEO Damian Hopley said: “Mark has consistently held the players’ best interest at heart and been a voice of reason in these unparalleled times, while Phil has been a crucial pillar of support throughout. They leave the game and the RPA in a better place and we are excited to be working with Ethan and Jake at a time when player welfare has never been more imperative to all stakeholders.”

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