Rugby Union Players Association

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"RUPA" redirects here. For other uses, see RUPA (disambiguation).
Full name Rugby Union Players Association
Founded 1995
Key people Greg Harris
Office location Mallet Street, Sydney, New South Wales
Country Australia

The Rugby Union Players' Association (RUPA) is the representative body for professional rugby union players in Australia. It was formed in October 1995 in response to the professionalism of rugby.[1]


Its members comprise the following:[1][2]


In August 1995, the ARU, NSWRU, QRU and the ACTRU agreed to support the establishment of a players’ association and to loan it $10,000.00 for set up costs and to allow it distribute television revenue. The RUPA was established and the following month, an initial steering committee made of Tony Dempsey, Ewen McKenzie, George Gregan, Damien Smith, Mark Harthill, Tim Kava, Rod McCall and Rod Kafer was formed with Dempsey being elected President in December 1995.[2] Dempsey remained as president until the end of 2009 when he resigned and was replaced by Omar Hassanein as acting chief.[3][4]


RUPAs objectives are:

  • Provision of an Association that promotes and advances Rugby Union.
  • Promotion and protection of the interests and safeguarding rights of members.
  • To secure and maintain freedom from unjust and unlawful rules and regulations affecting member's careers.
  • Assisting Members in securing employment.
  • Obtaining member benefits.
  • To provide legal advice and legal assistance.
  • Election of Members as directors to the Boards of Directors of the ARU, ACTRU, NSWRU, QRU and WARU Boards.


Collective Bargaining[edit]

RUPA engages in collective bargaining on behalf of its members with their employers. There have been three agreements:

First Collective Bargaining Agreement[edit]

In October 1997 RUPA negotiated its first collective bargaining agreement with the ARU, NSWRU, QRU and ACTRU that provided a regulatory framework for the employment of professional rugby players in. Key features of this collective bargaining agreement included:-

  • A minimum wage for Super 12 players and a standard player contract.
  • An increase in death and total disability insurance for players.
  • It established a joint committee on players’ safety and welfare and an 8-week lay off period each year for players.
  • A career training scheme to provide players with vocational and career skills after rugby was established.
  • Dispute resolution procedures.
  • A requirement that rugby bodies pay 25% of player generated revenue to players each year.


Second Collective Bargaining Agreement[edit]

A second Collective Bargaining Agreement was implemented in April 2001 that expanded on the 1997 Agreement. Key features of this Agreement included:

  • An increase in the players’ share of player generated revenue from 25% to 30%.
  • An increase in the average salary per player from $120,000 to $138,000 as well as an increase in minimum salary from $28,940 to $45,000.
  • Revenue sharing in use of players’ signatures on memorabilia and increased protection of players’ images.
  • Career Training Scheme funding went from $110,000 to $550,000


Third Collective Bargaining Agreement[edit]

A Third Collective Bargaining Agreement came into place in December 2004. This agreement addressed issues surrounding player burnout, agent accreditation, occupational health and safety, compulsory tertiary educationas well as improvement of the employment conditions for all players. [2][6]


The John Eales Medal is awarded to the best international player each season

The Medal for Excellence[edit]

RUPA award the Rugby Medal for Excellence to the Australian player who is voted by his peers as having excelled both on and off the field during the season. All full-time professional players who are members of RUPA are eligible to vote. The inaugural winner was George Gregan in 2001.[2]

The John Eales Medal[edit]

Main article: John Eales Medal

In June 2002 the ARU and RUPA jointly launched an award to honour the game's best Wallaby player each season. The John Eales Medal is awarded to the player judged by his peers as the team's outstanding player. The inaugural John Eales Medal was won in 2002 by George Smith who won it again in 2008.[2][7]


National Player Development Manager[edit]

The Australian Rugby Union and The Rugby Union Players Association and jointly Jointly appointed a National Player Development Manager in July 2001. The Player Development Manager includes support in areas of career and education, career placement program, financial and legal support and personnel counselling for players.[2]

Player Services Manager[edit]

In October 2003 RUPA appointed a Manager of Player Services whose role it is to enhance the overall level of membership benefits including implementation of Player Agent Accreditation Scheme and the development of the ARU/RUPA Player Safety and Welfare Committee.[2]

Occupational Health and Safety Committee[edit]

The first OHS Committee meeting was held in 2005 to recommend to the rugby bodies how to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all professional players.[2]

Membership of other bodies[edit]

International Rugby Players Association[edit]

RUPA was a founding member of the International Rugby Players’ Association (IRPA). IRPA's members include the Player Associations from England, (RPA), South Africa, New Zealand and France. In 2003 they were joined by the Irish and Welsh bodies, IRUPA and WRPA. In 2006, the Scottish players body SRPA also became members. Its objectives are to promote, advance and protect the interest and objects of its members and to be the representative voice of all members on issues of importance to the international professional game.[2][8]

Australian Athletes Alliance[edit]

RUPA is also a member of the Australian Athletes Alliance, an advocate on behalf of Australian athletes at state and national level.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "What is RUPA?". RUPA. Retrieved 10/06/2010.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "HIstory". RUPA. Retrieved 11/06/2010.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ Bret Harris (12/05/2010). "ARU defers negotiation of the collective bargaining agreement with players' union". The Australian. Retrieved 11/06/2010.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ "Dempsey quits RUPA". The Age. 03/12/2009. Retrieved 11/06/2010.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ "Objectives". RUPA. Retrieved 11/06/2010.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ "ARU & RUPA to finalise Collective Bargaining Agreement". ARU. 03/11/2004. Retrieved 12/06/2010.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)
  7. ^ "George Smith". 02/06/2010. Retrieved 11/06/2010.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ "IRPA". IRUPA. Retrieved 11/06/2010.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  9. ^ "Australian Athletes Alliance". Australian Athletes Alliance. Retrieved 11/06/2010.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)