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Rugby Players Ireland to facilitate player behaviour workshops 'in light of recent events'

“We are actively developing the contents of our Player Wellbeing Programme in conjunction with the IRFU and provincial management teams.”

RUGBY PLAYERS IRELAND, the body representing professional rugby players in this country, says it is currently in the process of developing the contents of its ‘Player Wellbeing Programme’ in light of recent events.

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding had their contracts with the IRFU and Ulster revoked last weekend following a review into their behaviour in the wake of their acquittal on rape charges last month.

Irish rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding were acquitted of rape following a trial last month. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Rugby Players Ireland [RPI] jointly funds the player development programme with the IRFU, with the programme focusing on the off-field development of players in Ireland.

RPI told The42 that it had existing plans in place to facilitate a number of workshops on “healthy behavioural attitudes” in the coming weeks, and that these workshops will now be updated to include modules on consent.

The organisation is also developing the contents of its programme in conjunction with the IRFU and the management teams for the four provincial sides. Any developments in the programme will aim to ensure that “the values of integrity, inclusivity and respect” are understood by players and “reflected in their behaviour on and off the pitch.”

While details of these developments remain unconfirmed as the review into the programme continues and best practice in these areas is examined, RPI says it is committed to educating and developing its members.

“Rugby Players Ireland is committed to investing in the continued development of Ireland’s professional rugby players,” said RPI in a statement to The42.

“The Player Development Programme (PDP), led by Dr Deirdre Lyons, is a jointly funded initiative between Rugby Players Ireland and the IRFU which focuses on the players’ off-field development.

“With five Player Development Managers, Rugby Players Ireland has the capacity to provide a comprehensive curriculum for each province and for the Women’s Rugby programme. The programme is grounded upon five key pillars: a) education, training & skills; b) social engagement; c) financial management & planning; d) player wellbeing and e) career advice & guidance.

“The content of this programme is reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that it continues to evolve in line with current trends. We have invested more resources in this area, including broadening the curriculum delivered to players through individual consultations, group workshops and the provision of educational material so that all players receive the support they need in their daily lives, while also preparing them for their transition from the game.

“A new feature of the programme for 2018 will see Rugby Players Ireland and the IRFU host an Induction Camp for all new Academy players, which will bring our services into focus and emphasise the importance of a players’ holistic development. Additionally, we are also hosting members of the Irish Women’s XV squad for a weekend of learning and team-building.

“Earlier this year, Dr Ella McCabe, a Senior Clinical Psychologist, was appointed as Head of the Player Wellbeing Programme at Rugby Players Ireland and is facilitating a number of workshops designed to educate the players on healthy behavioural attitudes in the coming weeks.

“In light of recent events, we are actively developing the contents of our Player Wellbeing Programme in conjunction with the IRFU and provincial management teams, to ensure that our  values of integrity, inclusivity and respect, integral to the game of rugby, are understood by all our players and reflected in their behaviour on and off the pitch.”

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Murray Kinsella

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