The RPA today announced a new partnership with The Tom Maynard Trust, which will sponsor the RPA’s annual Academy Induction Day for first year registered academy players at Aviva Premiership Clubs.
The Tom Maynard Trust was created in memory of former Glamorgan and Surrey cricketer and rising England batsman Tom Maynard, who was tragically killed in London in June 2012.
The Trust has already established a successful partnership with the PCA (Professional Cricketers’ Association), sponsoring their Rookie Camp, and has now extended this support to rugby stars of the future.
The partnership which starts on 12th August at the RPA’s Academy Induction Day at Loughborough University, will run for three years and is a good example of rugby and cricket working together to prepare theyoung men coming into professional sport.
Tom’s father,former England cricketer Matthew Maynard, said: “Tom was a young professional sportsman who was living his dream and had always wanted to play cricket from a very early age, so we decided to set up a Trust to help players of a similar age to him – the 16-23 band, initially to give them an opportunity to play cricket,either by awarding bursaries to play overseas, or by funding training or education programmes.
“That initial area of work has broadened, though, and we were delighted with the initial Rookie Camp partnership with the PCA as it’s such a good fit for us. It is wonderful to now also be able to support the RPA and it was a natural next step for the Trust to back their Academy Induction Day. Primarily, the Induction day is about education and it is so important to educate our young sports people these days.
“As a 19, 20 or 21 year-old rugby player,or cricketer, or soccer player, all you want to do is play the game; you don’t think about anything else like pensions or lifestyle, you only think about playing and maybe about being able to drive a nice car. You don’t think about the potential dangers that are out there. At a young age you believe you are invincible and sadly we’ve learnt that is not the case.”
The Academy Induction Day, which runs as part of the RPA Player Development Programme includes presentations and interactive sessions on a range of topics including; anti-doping and illicit drugs awareness, Drink IQ awareness, health and well-being, betting integrity, social responsibility for professional sportsmen in the public eye, social media and communication skills and the RPA’s career planning and education service which runsalongside their training to prepare them for life after rugby.
RPA Rugby Director David Barnes said: “It’s fantastic that the Tom Maynard Trust has committed to support the RPA Academy Induction Day for at least three years. It sends a great message to us as the RPA, the Players’ Body – we are here to help players receive the right information and tools to make a success of their careers.
“As a game we have a responsibility to educate these youngsters who will be growing up in the spotlight. They will be playing in a highly pressurised and competitive environment and people will be interested in what they are doing both on and off the field. It’s important for these young guys to become great Ambassadors and role models for the sport for years to come. With the help of the Tom Maynard Trust we can educate them about life as a professional sportsman and potential pitfalls they need to be aware of.”
The day also informs young players of the importance of preparingfor Plan B in case their dream career is cut short, which is essential in Maynard’s view:
“You have to focus hard on your sport and your skills, but having that Plan B plan is so important. At the Academy Day the RPA re-enforce the message that players need to have something to fall back.You can’t go in thinking you are going to play rugby or cricket for the next 10 years because you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”