8 Oct2015

MENTORING: three ex professional rugby players from the ‘pitch to the office’

As an employer of 3 ex Rugby players I understand the transitional growth pains involved in the move from playing boots to work suits.

It is this working relationship that initially started my involvement in attending RUINN events, then sponsoring the last one and now entering the mentoring program.

By trade I am an Independent Financial Adviser by habit a serial net worker. The thick book of networked contacts I have acquired over the years allows me to put people from all sorts of backgrounds and industries in touch with each other.

Financial Relationships and I have also formed a number of strategic, joint venture relationships, with numerous businesses. It is through these business partners that I can facilitate openings and career options for players.

RUINN has initially afforded me the opportunity to mentor Andy Newman (London Scottish) and Paul Hodgson (London Irish). Both will be shadowing me in the office, meetings with clients and key business partners as part of the mentoring program. This gives them business experience and contacts which will help forge there second career.

The participants in the meetings so far always seem very interested in the guys as it is not every day they meet a sport professional. What I have learned so far from this is that the rugby player looks at the business person and thinks “I wish I was sat in your seat – with your career at this stage in my life”. The business person is sat there thinking “Wow, I wish I could have been a professional sports person”.

You have to realise your assets, peoples perceptions of you, and your own strengths to utilise them in your favour. This is where I feel I can help a player most. The education system in this country tends to class you as either sporty or academic.

Rugby players need to realise that in most cases they are both. This gives them a serious competitive advantage over others in the work place and in life. Why do you think I have hired 3 ex players and am looking for more to develop a career with us?

There are brass tack basics that every player needs to do to facilitate all of this. What I have asked of both players is that they provide me with a CV. It doesn’t matter how basic it is initially because we can help them improve it to the required standard. It is the personal info, educational data and playing history that I need to start with – as would any employer.

This same info should appear on your Linked In site. Paul has a good site with plenty of connections, Andy didn’t so we set one up for him. I recommend that players spend 10-15 minutes per day working on their site and building business connections this way. This may be the outside worlds only view of you so it needs to look good.

The other valuable areas of the program aside from door opening and contact building is the subtle differences / needs in the office place.


  • The difference between a job and a career is key.
  • Sales versus broking versus advice based work.
  • The need for training and qualifications – getting a trade.
  • The value of servicing and reviewing client needs.
  • Never underestimate the value of common courtesy.

Current players need to take it upon themselves to not only attend RUINN events, for there own benefit, but also encourage there team mates to join them. Putting yourself on the RUINN players page is a great way to advertise your wares to would be employers.

You need to prepare yourself for life after rugby now, so that you can retire yourself from the game, and not the other way around.