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PRA becomes Rugby Players' Association

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Article Published: Monday 12 October 2009

The Professional Rugby Players' Association in England (PRA) has today announced that the organisation is refocusing and expanding to become the Rugby Players' Association (RPA).

The RPA, launched today, will be more inclusive and will increase the number of players who can benefit from the RPA's excellent range of services.

As well as over 500 players from the Guinness Premiership, the RPA will now be opening its membership to rugby players from different tiers of the game.
This includes players from the Championship, elite players from Women's rugby and retired players, who will form the RPA Alumni.

The RPA also launched a new brand identity including a new logo, new colour pallet and a new brand proposition: "For the Players, For the Game."

RPA members England Captain, Steve Borthwick and London Irish player Topsy Ojo joined the RPA today to make the landmark announcement.

Damian Hopley, RPA CEO said: "We are very excited to announce a new positive direction and new name for our organisation."
"The Rugby Players' Association will embrace a broader membership, promoting and protecting their interests to safeguard their futures both on and off the pitch.

"While the organisation has had an exceptional record of success since its inception 11 years ago, the changes announced today will ensure the RPA is even better positioned to support the players and the growth of Rugby Union.

"The new direction of the RPA will help provide our members with the best chance of achieving their full potential as sports men and women."

David Barnes, PRA Chairman said: "The RPA has undertaken a great deal of positive work to support our members, including world class education programmes that help players to be role models for young people and be positive ambassadors for Rugby Union.

"The expansion announced today will ensure that the players continue to benefit from an effective and independent players' union."

Steve Borthwick, England and Saracens Captain said: "I am delighted to support the RPA in their new direction. "
"For the players, it is vital that we have a strong, proactive and supportive union. Today's announcement shows the RPA is responding to the changing needs of the players and the sport."

At today's media briefing, the RPA were also delighted to announce former Leicester Tigers player Matt Hampson as the first RPA Benevolent Fund Ambassador.

Matt suffered a catastrophic injury whilst training with England U21 in 2005, and was presented with a cheque for £20,000 from the RPA Benevolent Fund to assist with the costs of installing a hydrotherapy pool in his purpose built house.

The RPA Benevolent Fund - The Players' Charity - was established in 2001 to provide financial support for players who have been forced to retire from the game due to serious injury or illness, and support players' families in the event of their untimely death.

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