The Rugby Business Network Podcast

This global network was set up in 2010 with a vision of building a community that connects rugby, business and charity. Today our network has more than 38,000 members attending our events in more than 60 cities around the world, helping and inspiring each other.

Over the last seven years we have built what has now become the world’s biggest and most influential network for senior business people with a passion for rugby. It is now time that we extend this opportunity beyond our organisers and members so that the whole world can benefit from these motivational stories, experiences and advice.

We bring you The Rugby Business Network Podcast.


Captain America: Rugby’s Hero in the United States

Former USA Rugby captain Dan Lyle says he stumbled into playing Rugby while taking part in tryouts for the NFL and we can all be grateful for this. Dan is now making significant contributions to Rugby and he divulges why he decided to stay involved in the sport once calling time on his professional career with the Eagles fourteen years ago.

Having also racked up 125 caps for Bath in the English Premiership, Dan gives his firsthand account of how players in England and America went about transitioning out of professional rugby and into the working environment. Playing a team sport like Rugby is a significant advantage when it comes to moving into the business space according to Dan, while the administration side of businesses linked with Rugby is what attracted him.

Less than a year ago Dan was announced as the Director of the Rugby Union division at sports and entertainment company AEG, where he reveals that a four-year agreement has been reached with the English Premiership to host regular season matches in the USA.

Dan is also a recent inductee into the USA Rugby Hall of Fame and explains why it is important for this to exist in the American sporting culture, where he hopes the Eagles will rival the more established Rugby Union playing nations in the near future.

Bouncing between a Rugby coaching and Business career

Being the head coach of an international Rugby team is demanding, but USA Sevens coach Mike Friday takes it in his stride, as he is also the co-founder of Bounce Life Limited in the United Kingdom. He tells The Rugby Business Network how he manages to lead the Eagles, where they have reached an impressive fifth place in the HSBC Sevens World Series this season, as well as growing his business which is a year old.

Mike emphasises the importance of health and well being, which is the driving force behind his decision to branch out in this area of business that is developing at a steady rate. Surrounding yourself with the right people is what makes the balancing act between the USA Sevens team and Bounce Life possible, according to Mike.

Having played professional Rugby with the London Wasps, Mike speaks from experience when he says that players need to start planning for their futures well before their playing days come to an end. Mike also offers sound advice when it comes to financial planning, as it is not equal for players across the Sevens and 15-man formats or from one country to the next.

Bridging the daunting gap between Rugby and Business careers

International Rugby Players Association CEO Omar Hassanein knows all too well the struggles and uncertainties professional and semi-professional Rugby players experience when transitioning into the business environment once they call time on their playing days.

A recent survey in Ireland found that an astounding 31% of players still felt unsure about the career they wished to peruse two years after retiring, which is why Omar stresses the importance for Rugby players to “leave no gaps in their CV” as it makes the transition process far less daunting.

A loss of identity after a player hangs up their Rugby boots is a real problem according to Omar and that Player Associations are there to keep past players interests in mind and assisting them in providing meaningful opportunities in business.

Omar admits that the businesses he has worked with, while at the number of Player Associations he has been involved with since his retirement as a professional rugby player, are accommodating when it comes to career transition. Although he believes more business could still get involved in giving retired players an opportunity.

There is a familiar trend for past players searching for a career related to or involved with Rugby, which are not always readily available. Omar urges players when they are still at the start of their Rugby careers to study and organise their lives accordingly in preparation for the inevitable transition into the workplace.

Olympian sprints ahead in business career

Whether you are a retired professional Rugby player or a former world class sprinter on the Athletics track, Derek Redmond insists that “the mindset of a successful sportsperson is not that different to the mindset of successful businessperson”.

Derek admits that if it was not for his historic and inspiring moment during the 400m semi-finals at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, he is unsure what career path he would have followed after putting away his running shoes. As a successful motivational speaker 25 years later, Derek says it was by chance that he was approached by psychometric assessment provider Thomas International to become their Group Performance Director.

Understanding another person’s behavior while at the same time having self-awareness is fundamental on both the rugby field and in the work place according to Derek. “Sport is a business and business is a sport” is a motto Derek believes in wholeheartedly, as the traits sportsmen and women possess are transferable between the playing field and the business environment. For this reason he claims that former rugby players make some of the best businessmen.

Derek is also confident that by partnering with The Rugby Business Network’s ‘Life After Rugby’ program, Thomas International is able to take bigger steps towards improving people and organisation’s abilities.



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