Player development conference takes place in Dublin

By International Rugby Players

Player personal development managers (PDMs) are meeting in Dublin this week (March 7 & 8) to discuss the big issues players face off the pitch. 

Organised by International Rugby Players, delegates will share experiences around personal development, education, head injuries, the women’s game, retired players and many other topics. 

Senior Irish PDM, Dr. Deirdre Lyons, who organized the event, said: “This is a chance to get player development managers from all around the world together to discuss our collective issues. Whether you’re in the northern or southern hemisphere, work with the sevens or XVs, men’s or women’s, we tend to have a lot of the same issues, challenges but also opportunities to grow our business.

“Whether you’re starting a player development program or you’ve ran one for 20 years, like New Zealand, we all have a lot to share. It’s about sharing that knowledge and best practice, so maybe it can take another association less time to get up and running.”

PDMs from South Africa, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Wales, the Pacific Islands and Japan were represented at the international conference, the first since Covid, and one of the more topical issues was around dealing with the growing membership of retired players. 

“How do we support players when they leave the game so that they can have a really successful life outside of rugby? That’s something we’re discussing in-depth,” said Dr.Lyons. 

“The sense of identity when they leave the game and sharing best practice around this issue is something we can all benefit from discussing.”#

Pacific Rugby Players’ CEO Hale T.Pole said the conference was a great opportunity to see what other associations are doing to support players. His organization recently appointed two PDMs to the Super Rugby teams of Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua. 

“It’s benefited players massively. A player development manager is a “safe zone” for players to discuss any issues they are going through. 

“But beyond that, we want to prepare our kids coming out of the islands to transition smoothly to France or England so that they’re well prepared by our PDMs there,” he added.   

International Rugby Players

/ Contributor

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