Monday 10th February 2020
James King, the Ospreys and Wales backrow has been elected by fellow professional rugby players as the new Chair of the Welsh Rugby Players Association (WRPA) in their recent annual general meeting. James was unanimously elected by the player collective in a full showing of unity at a packed-out evening in the Vale Resort.
James succeeds the popular Scarlets, Wales and British & Irish Lions hooker, Ken Owens, who has decided to stand down after completing a successful five years in post. James will Chair the Executive Committee of Jake Ball, Steff Hughes, Dan Lydiate, Lewis Evans, Tyler Morgan, Josh Turnbull and Ellis Jenkins who represent the voices of all players in relation to issues in the game. The WRPA team is led by newly appointed Chief Executive Barry Cawte.
The WRPA also plays an important role in player personal development, through an industry-leading Personal Development Programme and a range of other initiatives.
James King said:
“It’s a huge honour to be elected as Chairman of our players' association and I’ll do my very best to represent their views and interests as we contribute towards the success and sustainability of the game in Wales.
I’ve been heavily involved in Welsh rugby for over 10 years both on and off the field and I’m confident that I’ve built up the knowledge and experience to provide an equal and ‘just’ view as chairman moving forward.
On behalf of every player, I’d like to thank Ken for the years of service he’s given to the WRPA as Chairman. On and off the pitch, he gives you everything; and he’s put in so many hours of effort which have never gone unrecognised and I’m extremely proud to be carrying on the hard work that he’s put in over the last five years.
As an advocate of every player being heard and having a voice, I am excited to welcome this new challenge and thank everyone for their support”
Ken Owens said:
“I can honestly say that being elected by your fellow players and standing up for them across our game has been an unbelievable privilege. James and the WRPA can, of course, count on my support in any way that’s helpful in the future.
“The last five years have seen some real highs and lows for Welsh rugby, including Grand Slam victory, becoming the world’s number one rugby nation and developing so many talented players through into the Regional and national setups, through to the huge uncertainty for Regional players, fans and staff over Project Reset.
“The WRPA has had to develop a strong voice and do more than ever to offer players support and development. With James as Chairman, the Executive Committee, Barry Cawte and his team running the organisation, and the help of Non-Executives, I’m confident the WRPA can do even more in the years ahead.”
Barry Cawte, WRPA Chief Executive, said:
“I’m looking forward to working with James, who is passionate about the success and future of rugby players and the game in Wales. This is a really important period of growth and development for the WRPA, and under James’s chairmanship and with the support of his fellow player representatives on the wider Executive Committee we can go from strength-to-strength.
“I would also like to thank Ken for the fantastic job he has done as Chairman. He has been careful to represent the interests of all players from all different circumstances and on a personal level, he has been incredibly supportive to me in my first year in post. I know he will continue to offer that support and to James as his successor.”
About James King
James King, born 24th July 1990, is a professional rugby player who has made nearly 200 appearances for the Ospreys as a back-row or lock forward. Previously he played for Aberavon. He has been capped 11 times by Wales at senior international level, having also played for age-group sides including Wales U18 and U20s. He was born in Wodonga, Australia and attended school in Mold, Flintshire, Wales.
About The WRPA
A not-for-profit professional association, the Welsh Rugby Players Association (WRPA) represents, develops, promotes and protects professional rugby players in Wales. The WRPA is a member of the International Rugby Players, the international association responsible for representing all professional players around the world.
The WRPA is mandated by its members to act in their collective best interest in relation to player welfare and issues affecting the game in Wales. The association acts as a conduit for member concerns and provides a platform whereby issues surrounding their welfare can be raised at the highest levels by the Executive Board.
The WRPA Personal Development Programme (PDP) assists players in achieving a sporting/lifestyle balance during their careers and encourages them to maximise the opportunities that are open to them as professional rugby players. In doing so it ultimately makes the transition out of their professional playing career and into future employment as smooth as possible.
The WRPA provides players with resources to help with public speaking, media skills and leadership. It advises players on social media usage and how to make the best use of their professional brand. It is through the personal brand promotion that the WRPA aims to encourage as many aspiring players to continue on their rugby journey so that no talent is lost or investment wasted.
The WRPA continually engages and runs initiatives to protect the game in Wales. If it stands to either negatively impact the game or the welfare of players, the WRPA aims to ensure it is tackled.