Rugby Players Ireland to facilitate healthy behavioural workshops 'in light of recent events'
The representative body for Irish rugby players released a statement on Friday afternoon.
Rugby Players Ireland (RPI), the body that represents professional rugby players in Ireland, says it's currently in the process of developing the contents of its ‘Player Wellbeing Programme’ in light of recent events.
Ireland and Ulster Rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding both recently had their contracts with the IRFU and Ulster revoked following a review into their behaviour in the wake of their acquittal on rape charges last month.
In a joint statement released by both clubs, they confirmed that, due to their recent rape trial, both players' contracts would be revoked effective immediately.
“Following a review, conducted in the aftermath of recent court proceedings, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have revoked the contracts of Patrick Jackson and Stuart Olding with immediate effect.
“In arriving at this decision, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby acknowledge our responsibility and commitment to the core values of the game: Respect, Inclusivity and Integrity."
In a statement released to JOE, a spokesperson for Rugby Players Ireland informed us of the moves the representative body will be taking to educate their players on "healthy behavioural attitudes."
"Rugby Players Ireland is committed to investing in the continued development of Ireland’s professional rugby players," the statement began.
"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."
On their website, RPI claim that "educational, vocational and commercial engagement are core principles in equipping our membership with the skills required to succeed both as professional athletes and successful individuals."