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English Rugby
James named new RPA chairman
ESPNscrum Staff
November 1, 2011

Gloucester lock Will James has succeeded David Barnes as chairman of the Rugby Players' Association (RPA).

Former Bath prop Barnes, who served in the position for six years, has taken up a full-time role with the organisation after being forced to retire from the game last season because of a serious neck injury. James is now looking forward to the task of building upon the good work done by his predecessor.

"I've been the Gloucester Player Representative for three years now and I want to make a similar contribution to David, who has done a great job as Chairman up until this summer," the 34-year-old second-row said.

"It is a big role within The RPA and the game and a good opportunity for me to be able to give input into the work done by the Association. It's an honour to have been elected RPA Chairman by my fellow Player Representatives.

"Our role as Player Representatives at the clubs includes relaying issues to our RPA Player Development Managers and working with them to initiate education programmes for life after rugby, voicing player welfare issues and ensuring all benefits are filtered down to the members.

"In my position as RPA Chairman I will look to lead The RPA forward in what is an exciting time for the club game in England."

James will work closely with Northampton Saints lock Christian Day, who has been voted in as vice-chairman.

"I feel more senior this year having been on The RPA Management Board last year, so I felt comfortable stepping up and making my voice heard," Day said.

"Rugby has changed dramatically over the last ten years. It used to be guys who went through university and got grades there before coming into rugby. Now many guys come in straight from school and that's the only qualification they will ever have.

"I think it is crucial that The RPA provides player support after their rugby career. Also, rugby is a tough sport physically and some guys have to retire due to injury, so The RPA plays a huge role in helping players through The RPA Benevolent Fund as well."

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