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Page last updated at 20:25 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 21:25 UK

Welsh Rugby Players Association is relaunched

Jones keen to spread WRPA message

The Welsh Rugby Players Association has relaunched claiming 98% membership among regional professional players.

It follows a period of inactivity after the departure of its previous chief executive, Richard Harry.

The new post holder, Dean Sheehan, says the Association is aiming to protect and promote the interests of players on and off the pitch.

It also wants to introduce financial education for players and sign up youngsters with the regional academies.

The Association is currently funded by the Welsh Rugby Union and says it wants to earn the respect of both Welsh rugby's governing body and Regional Rugby Wales.

Regional Rugby Wales is the umbrella organisation representing the four Welsh regions - Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets.

British and Irish Lions, Wales and Blues prop Gethin Jenkins is one of eight executive committee members and said the Association provides a valuable safeguard for players' interests.

The players need a voice

WRPA executive committee member Gethin Jenkins

"We've been working for at least a year now to get something in place so that mainly the younger players have got something to look after them in years to come," Jenkins said.

"When any situations arise they've got a governing body to look to in the WRPA.

"The players need a voice; insurance policies were a bit vague, people didn't know what to do when they got injured which is a big part of the game these days.

"We're trying to make the WRPA stronger, we've seen how strong the English PRA [the Rugby Players Association] is and we want to strive to get as close to that as we can so the players can have a viewpoint."

Meanwhile, an awards dinner in Cardiff next month will see the announcement of the players' player of the season, as well as raising money for the Association's benevolent fund.

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see also
Bradley Davies heads award list
27 Apr 10 |  Welsh
Scarlet wing Jones' career fear
11 Apr 10 |  Welsh

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