Rugby Players Ireland operates in a developmental capacity and encourages the player body to fulfil their potential both on and off the field of play. By equipping our membership with the requisite skills, they can succeed as both professional athletes and successful individuals.


What is mentoring?
Mentoring is a developmental partnership through which one person shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective to foster the personal and professional growth of someone else. We all have a need for insight that is outside of our normal life and educational experience. The power of mentoring is that it creates a one-of-a-kind opportunity for collaboration, goal achievement and problem-solving.
Purpose and rationale of the Rugby Players Ireland mentoring programme
Very few rugby players make enough money during their athletic career to ‘retire’ once they finish playing. The majority of Rugby Players Ireland’s members need to establish themselves in a second career once their rugby career comes to an end. Professional players, who often are committed to their sport from their late teens to their mid-30s, miss out on a lot of time and opportunity to plan an alternative career and establish a secure source of income on their retirement from rugby.
Providing players with a business mentor is a valuable way to assist post-playing career planning, gain industry-specific experience, provide access to relevant networks and promote personal growth and development in an environment outside of rugby.

Core principles of the Rugby Players Ireland/IoD mentoring programme
1. Confidentiality – all issues between mentor and player are confidential
2. Post-rugby planning – the relationship should concern itself with non-rugby related issues and focus on helping a player ready themselves for their post-rugby career
3. Mutual challenge and learning – there should be mutual benefit for both parties in the mentoring relationship, in terms of exchanging of ideas, creating and establishing goals and developing self-awareness

Careers - So what’s next?

One of the main aims of our Player Development Programme is to support players in maximising the opportunities available to them, during and after their playing careers. Developing career interests and experience outside of rugby can aid you in your transition from rugby. However, deciding on what alternative career to follow can be challenging. There are a few things that you can do now to create some focus and plan ahead.
Tip: It is best to do this with your PDM as they are fully trained to help you on a one-to-one basis. Get in touch! Click here for PDMs Contact Details
Prepare for a Lifetime of Careers, Instead of the Career of a Lifetime
Finding out what your next career should be involves a few steps. Remember it is not always easy finding the right career and it can sometimes take a few attempts. A new career choice is often made based on your personal profile + career profile.

For a step by step guide speak to your PDM.
TIP: Want to research careers in more detail: Visit https://careersportal.ie/ (ROI) or www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk (NI)


Though the Rugby Players Ireland Affiliates Programme we match current and retired players with companies that can offer structured externships. A large number of companies have signed up to the programme and have committed to providing mentoring/career advice as well as the possibility of post-rugby employment. The link below will bring you to a list of approved companies. (Insert Link)

Professional rugby players have a large number of transferrable skills that employers look for – leadership, communication and adaptability to name but a few. The graphic below outlines all the skills you will be brining with you into the workforce.


Did you know that the average professional rugby career is just 7 years.

Just 6% of current players have a career spanning longer than 12 years.

All CVs should be backed up with a good covering letter. The most important point about covering letters is that they need to be written from the point of view of the company/reader. A CV simply tells the company/reader what you have achieved. The covering letter should address how these achievements relate to the job you are applying for.
Top Tips
1. The letter should not be too long – 3 or 4 paragraphs are normally correct. In all situations, keep to 1 page. Use plain writing paper and unless the company asks you to apply in handwriting, it is best to type your letters.
2. Your name, address, telephone number and email address along with the date, name and address of the company should appear at the top of the page. Where possible, write to a named individual, as this immediately personalises the letter and makes any follow-up much easier.
4. Your letter needs to be in 3 parts: a) Why you are writing; b) Your abilities and how you fit the position; c) Positive ending.

5. End the letter by saying that you look forward to hearing from the company. Mention specific points about the company that attract you but avoid going over the top!
6. If you are writing to a named individual, end your letter ‘Yours sincerely’. Use your normal signature and print or type your name underneath. If you do not have a named individual, use ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ and end the letter ‘Yours faithfully’.
7. Always draft your letter before typing or writing the final version. Then check it before sending. Is it clear? Is it tidy? Is the spelling correct? Does it convey your relevant key strengths?
8. Always keep a copy of your letter for your own reference.

CV Example


A highly organized and disciplined leader whose motivation and attention to detail has enabled him to consistently achieve success at the highest level in rugby union.

An innovative and effective communicator, this personable individual has a proven ability to successfully manage challenges.


6/1997 to 6/2010 Leinster Rugby, Dublin

Professional Rugby Player

Leinster Rugby is a leading European Rugby Club competing in the Heineken Cup Championship.

• Team player and key game strategist – 90 appearances for Leinster
• Planning, monitoring and implementation of strategic moves
• Supported the management team through a significant change programme
• Managed relationships with an extensive support team
• Captained the Leinster Rugby team
• Developed and mentored younger players
• Player representative liaising with coach and management
• Contributed to media coverage and attended sponsorship events
• Magners League Ambassador for 2009/2010
• Delivered and maintained a professional image of Leinster Rugby
• Set short and long term personal and team goals and implemented strategies to achieve these goals
• Operated in a professional environment requiring intensive weekly reviews of individual and team performance


1998-2001 BA. (Hons) National College Ireland Dublin
Subjects studied: Business

1992-1998 Gonzaga College Dublin
Subjects studied: Math’s, English, Irish, French, Art, Biology, Classical studies,
and Geography


• Enda McNulty Motiv8 Training Programme


• Barbarians 2007
• Ireland Schools 1995
• Ireland Under 21 1997
• Achieved four Triple Crown victories and one Grand Slam
• European Heineken Cup Champion 2009
• Magners League Champion 2008


• Ambassador for Concern 2009 to present
• St Mary’s College Senior Cup Technical Advisor 2005 to 2009
• Active volunteer with Kildare Primary Schools

References Available on Request

CV, Cover Letters and Interviewing


“The purpose of the covering letter is to get the employer to read your curriculum vitae (CV), the purpose of your CV is to get an interview, and the purpose of an interview is to get a job offer.”
This section contains information on how to apply for a job and manage the interview process. The links below provide guidelines on how to write a good CV and covering letter, and offer guidance on interview preparation and technique.
Players are reminded that these resources do not replace the regular one-to-one support that Personal Development Managers provide in this area. So, have a go at writing your CV and a covering letter, practise answering interview questions, and then contact your Personal Development Manager for feedback, additional support and guidance.

CV Do’s and Don’ts (link)
Sample CV 1 (link)
Sample CV 2 (link)
Personal Statement examples (link)
Cover letter tips (link)

Are your job interview skills a little rusty? If so, take advantage of the 1-2-1 Interview Training service being provided by our Personal Development Managers. With massive competition in the current jobs market, the ability to successfully market your skills and positively influence potential employers has never been so important. Support will be given on:
• Create instant rapport with your interviewer.
• Apply techniques to increase your confidence and ability to influence.
• Understand the mindset of the interviewer.
• Effectively communicate your skills and experience with authority.
• Selling yourself


There are many facts and fallacies about writing an effective CV and depending on where you turn, you’ll get different advice – depending on the job you are applying for and organisation you are applying to. The following tips can help.

DO keep the layout and design legible, consistent and easy to follow, with good clear headings, large easy-to-read typeface.

DO use good quality, plain paper if you are printing out your CV.

DO make sure that the headings used in your CV are consistent in their appearance. They should be written in the same font and size, and not underlined. 

DO leave plenty of white space on your CV, i.e. do not put too much writing on any one page and leave adequate space between each section. This will ensure that your CV is easy to read and that it looks uncluttered.
DO keep it short and concise . If you can fit your whole relevant career experience into two pages, it not only shows focus, but a willingness to condense data into short useful bites. The majority of employers looking to fill business positions will really appreciate this. Bullet points are useful in these situations.
DO tell an employer what they want to hear. So you just graduated college with that important degree. Unfortunately, so did a couple of hundred other people. How do you stand out? Don’t just tell them you have a degree, tell them how your experience and knowledge of that degree can help them.
DO know the job you are applying for. Try and learn as much as you can about the place you are applying to. Some of this information can go into your CV in a subtle way to show that you are aware of the needs of the position. Spot anything the business does which you think you could improve upon – Do you think you could be an asset to them? Let them know how in your CV. This why copy and paste type CVs frequently find themselves on the rejection pile. Many employers can get annoyed at the fact that you are not sufficiently interested in the position advertised to do a bit of research. As employers, we all know that the world doesn’t revolve around us but sometimes we like to feel a bit special.

DO keep it succinct. Highlight particular personal achievements, e.g. ‘During my period as a professional player, I received 120 caps.’ 

DO put your work history and educational details in reverse chronological order, i.e. starting with the most recent. 


DO spend time on your Personal Statement. It should briefly outline the knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities that you possess. In particular, it should highlight that you have appropriate knowledge that is required to do the job, the skills required (these will relate to the transferable skills that you have developed throughout your education and career so far), the attitude and abilities required.

DON’T sell yourself short. Many people take for granted the skills they have and presume employers will assume they have them too. If you know your way around Microsoft Office or you’re good at a skill which an employer needs then state that. If you don’t state something clearly, we will presume you are being vague for a reason.

DON’T use both sides of the paper. Use separate sheets of paper for each page of your CV. 

DON’T waste space at the start of your CV with the heading ‘Curriculum Vitae’. It will be clear to the employer that the document is your CV. It is also a waste of valuable space. 

DON’T exaggerate your experience to make it sound more impressive. If it can’t stand up to scrutiny in the interview, you will blow your chances of getting the job. 

DON’T claim complete responsibility for achievements implying no one else deserves any credit as this is usually not the case. 

DON’T write a novel. It should concisely paint a picture of you and your job history. Key points should be highlighted to develop interest and excitement about you as a potential candidate. 

DON’T use a narrative style. Highlight your accomplishments in a bullet point format, as you then don’t need as many complete sentences. But be warned; brief points must be carefully thought out. 

DON’T use initials and jargon. Write so you’re understood. There’s a general consensus by good interviewers that people who really know their subject, write and speak clearly and don’t try to complicate issues


Networking is a necessity for anyone looking to find new career options. We live in a world where connections can be as important as experience. As professional rugby players you are in an enviable position where people want to meet you and get to know you. By practicing and mastering the art of networking you can determine who may be a powerful connection for your future career.

Top Tips to Take the Pain out of Networking!
Some people are brilliant at networking and seem to float around the room chatting to everyone. Others find networking a real challenge and tend to shy away. Walking into a room full of unknown people can feel intimidating. Below are some tips to take the pain out of your next networking event!

If you’re really nervous about attending a networking event, bring a networking buddy. It is a lot easier to approach people when you have someone by your side. Be careful that you are not just socialising with the person you brought with you, successful networking is about making new connections. If your wingman pulls out last minute another good approach is to look towards the outskirts of the room and find someone who looks a bit lonely.

Arriving early allows you to engage one-on-one with a few attendees before the crowd arrives. It’s quite likely that you make a number of great connections in the first hour which means you don’t have to stick around for the full networking event. Win-win!

Before any event, research the attendees ahead of time by looking at the guest list and cross referencing to LinkedIn. This preparation work will help you feel more relaxed and can help you focus on who you want to target at the event.

There is nothing worse than running out of things to say – no one likes an awkward silence. Have your ice breakers ready in your back pocket – you can never have too many of these! You can talk about the venue, the food, the weather, current news topics. It doesn’t always have to be work related, sometimes the best way to build a strong relationship is to just shoot the breeze with someone.

It’s important to remember that networking is about making new connections and building relationships not about selling yourself. Ask about their line of work, dig deeper, ask curious questions. Be an attentive listener, this will make a good impression. Once the relationship has been established it is much easier to talk about yourself.

Most networking gurus say that you should make contact within 48 hours of an initial meeting. A good idea is to make a few notes on the back of the business cards you have collected straight after the event. A good listener will remember what each person was interested in. Dig up an interesting article and send it to the person as an easy way to follow up. If you get a positive response suggest catching up for a coffee.


It is important that players, no matter what stage they are at in the playing career, start preparing for their life after rugby. Achieving an academic or trade qualification is the best way to do this. Rugby Players Ireland know that it can be a struggle to balance rugby, life and study. Your PDM can help you create a schedule that allows you to thrive.

Figuring out what you want to do and how best to get there can be difficult. Career Portal (for players based in the Republic) and Prospects (for all in NI) are great tools to help you find the route that would suit you best. https://careersportal.ie/ https://www.prospects.ac.uk/

Academic Qualifications
Did you know that 56% of all players are currently studying? Students generally qualify with Higher Certificates (NFQ Level 6) or Ordinary Bachelor’s degrees (NFQ Level 7). It’s important to work out a schedule that suits both your rugby and your studies. By working with your PDM and your college you can get the most from both.
There are certain courses that are more suited to flexible study then others. Talk to your PDM before committing to any one course.

If like the 39% of the player group you already hold an undergraduate degree you may be interested in achieving an Honours Bachelor’s degrees (NFQ Level 8) or a Postgraduate Diplomas (NFQ Level 9). Some Masters Courses offer a good amount of flexibility. This a big undertaking and players who have undertaken Masters in the past tend to do it over 2+ years.

Trade Qualifications
Trade qualifications allow people to work in more manual skilled areas including carpentry, electrics and mechanics to name a few. Completing a trade apprenticeship while playing professional rugby is not always possible. However there are a number of courses you can do that will prepare you for eventually entering into the area you are interested in.

If you want to find out more about further education options open to you talk to your PDM today.