A group of thirty former rugby players gathered together on Saturday night for the New Zealand Rugby Players Association Rugby Club’s Auckland event.

The former players enjoyed the hospitality of the Eden Park based New Zealand Barbarian Clubrooms prior the Blues match against the Crusaders.

The group of former players at the event was a combination of past All Blacks, Super Rugby and NPC players, with some recently returning from international stints.  The players relished a great night of sharing entertaining stories and insights into the common challenges players face after rugby.  

Former Chiefs player Steven Bates who has just returned from eight years of playing in Japan said “Being from out of the region, I was a little bit apprehensive about going, but at the end of the day I was so glad I did. 

“It was really good chatting to people that I haven’t caught up with for ages, reconnecting and meeting new people.   

“I took a lot of comfort from hearing other people share their stories about similar experiences they had transitioning out of rugby.  I will definitely go to future events because I got so much out of it and I also learned about the services the NZRPA can tap into to help former players.”

The NZRPA are working to establish a thriving network of retired New Zealand Professional Rugby Players across the country to provide camaraderie, networking, support and advice.

Tim Weston from the NZRPA who looks after the NZRPA Rugby Club said “We are in the early stages of establishing our rugby club network, but we know that players who come along to these events really enjoy themselves.  They get a lot out of them and will help bring other former players along to help us grow their NZRPA Alumni Rugby Club.

“We would like to encourage any retired professional players to attend any number of the events that we are holding.”

The events which create opportunities for former players to unite, spend some time together and re-establish the camaraderie that they got through rugby during their playing days will be held in Dunedin and Christchurch in July and Wellington later in the year.  

If you are a former professional player and wish to take part in any of these events or be added to the NZRPA Rugby Club database please email Tim.Weston@nzrpa.co.nz.

I took a lot of comfort from hearing other people share their stories about similar experiences they had transitioning out of rugby. - Steven Bates