Irish Rugby Union Players Association

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Full name Irish Rugby Union Players Association
Founded 2001
Key people Omar Hassanein
Office location Clonskeagh, Dublin.
Country Ireland

The Irish Rugby Union Players Association (IRUPA) is the representative body for professional rugby players in Ireland. Founded in October 2001, its aims are to promote and protect the welfare of professional rugby players in Ireland.[1][2] The Chief Executive Officer is Omar Hassanein and Rob Kearney is its current chairman.[3] Its headquarters are in Clonskeagh in Dublin.


The associations objectives are:-

  • To promote and protect the welfare of its members, both during and after their careers.
  • To cater for the educational and welfare needs of its members, to ensure that they have sufficient preparation for the life after rugby.
  • To work in partnership with the IRFU to further the cause of Rugby Union in Ireland.
  • To be the representative mouthpiece for professional rugby players on issues of importance to the game.[4]


Player Services Programme[edit]

IRUPA provides a Player Services Advisor. This provides player guidance on all aspects of their career, including education, personal development to prepare them for the transition to life after professional rugby.[2]

Contract negotiations and dispute resolution[edit]

The association acts as a negotiator between players and their employer. They are involved with negotiating group contracts in areas such as match and win bonuses and act as a go-between in the event of disputes.[5] This includes bringing industrial action if necessary [6]


In October 2001 Ireland's professional rugby players set up the Irish Rugby Union Players' Association. Over 95% of all players with a contract with the IRFU joined the new body. Liam Toland and Peter McKenna were appointed Chairman and Secretary.[4]

In 2003, the members of the association realised the need for a full time employee and former Ireland International Niall Woods was appointed the first full time Chief Executive Officer.[4]


2008 and 2010 IRUPA Players player of the year; Tommy Bowe

IRUPA has run the annunal IRUPA Awards dinner from 2002 which gives recognition to rugby players in a number of categories. The awards dinner is run to support the injured players fund.[7] The most prestigious award is the Players' Player of the Year award which is voted for by playing members of IRUPA.

List of Players' Player of the Year award winners[edit]

Year Player Team
2003 Malcolm O'Kelly Leinster[8]
2004 Gordon D'Arcy Leinster[9]
2005 Johnny O'Connor London Wasps [10]
2006 Paul O'Connell Munster [11]
2007 Gordon D'Arcy Leinster [12]
2008 Tommy Bowe Ospreys [13]
2009 Brian O'Driscoll Leinster[14]
2010 Tommy Bowe * Ospreys [13]
2011 Isa Nacewa Leinster[15]
2012 Rob Kearney Leinster[16]
2013 Nick Williams Ulster[16]
2014 Andrew Trimble Ulster[16]
2015 Paul O'Connell Munster[17]
2016 CJ Stander Munster[18]

* Tommy Bowe was also awarded the 2010 WRPA Players Player of the Year Award. [19]

Other awards[edit]

Other awards include the Young Player of the Year award, Try of the Year and the Unsung Hero as well as the Hall of Fame.

List of Hall of Fame inductees[edit]

The IRUPA Hall of Fame includes the following members:

Year Inductee(s)
2003 Mick Galwey, Peter Clohessy
2004 Keith Wood, Paddy Johns
2005 Eric Elwood
2006 Jeremy Davidson
2007 Victor Costello
2008 David Humphreys
2009 Anthony Foley
2010 Girvan Dempsey
2011 Malcolm O'Kelly
2012 John Hayes
2013 Denis Hickie
2014 Simon Best
2015 David Wallace
2016 Ronan O'Gara


Injured players fund[edit]

IRUPA administers the injured players fund which provides support to players who are forced to retire from rugby due to illness or injury. The fund is reliant on individual and corporate donations.[21] The IRUPA annual awards dinner is also a major part of the its fundraising activity.[22] Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, IRUPA made a donation of €20,000 from the injured players fund to assist with relief efforts through aid agency Concern.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "IRUPA HOME PAGE". IRUPA. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  2. ^ a b "Preparing for the life less ordinary". Irish Independent. 2008-09-15. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  3. ^ a b "IRUPA Members Donate €20,000 to Concern Earthquake Appeal". Emerald Rugby. 2010-01-15. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  4. ^ a b c "ABOUT US". IRUPA. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  5. ^ "IRFU meeting IRUPA over pay dispute". RTÉ. 2004-11-19. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  6. ^ "IRFU 'disrespectful', claim players". 2004-05-25. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  7. ^ "The Irish Rugby Union Players' Association has announced the nominations for Player of the Year for 2010". 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  8. ^ "IRUPA Mira Rugby Players Awards 2003". IRUPA. 2003-05-19. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  9. ^ "IRUPA Awards". 2004-05-20. Archived from the original on November 21, 2007. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  10. ^ "O'Connor wins Irish players gong". BBC. 2005-05-05. Retrieved 2010-06-03. [dead link]
  11. ^ "BT IRUPA Rugby Players Awards 2006". IRUPA. 2006-05-15. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  12. ^ "D'Arcy picks up second Players' Player gong". RTÉ. 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  13. ^ a b "Bowe Voted Irish Players' Player Of The Year". 2010-05-12. Archived from the original on May 16, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  14. ^ "O'Driscoll Chosen As IRUPA Players' Player Of The Year". 2009-05-06. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  15. ^ "Nacewa scoops IRUPA award". 2011-05-04. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  16. ^ a b c Sara Jane English (May 3, 2015). "12 Years of IRUPA Awards – Stats & Facts". Retrieved May 12, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Paul O'Connell Players' Player of the Year 2015". 14 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  18. ^ "Outstanding CJ Stander does the double at annual IRUPA awards". 4 May 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  19. ^ "Bowe scoops Welsh honour". 2010-05-19. Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  20. ^ "Hall of Fame". IRUPA. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  21. ^ "Injured players fund". IRUPA. Retrieved 2010-06-03. 
  22. ^ "IRUPA Award Nominees Announced". 2009-04-09. Archived from the original on April 13, 2008. Retrieved 2010-06-06.