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The United States Rugby Players Association is a new organization formed by Eagles for Eagles, and its the first of its kind on American soil. The USRPA was created with the support of the International Rugby Players Association (IRPA), which is presided over by former All Black great Richie McCaw. The USRPA was created in part by Blaine Scully.
"It is important for the success of the game in the United States that the elite players have a collective voice," he said via USA Rugby's press release. "The relationship between USAR and the USRPA is fundamentally founded on a strong sense of partnership and shared purpose. Both parties are committed to dialogue and collaboration which will allow the players to have input in key issues, but also take ownership in the development of the game."
"As players, we highly value the opportunity to provide input into issues that affect our playing environment and welfare," added Kelly Griffin. "USRPA will provide us with a collective means to do this. It is so important that all four national teams work together to progress our sport."
New USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne championed the formation of the USRPA.
"The development of USRPA is a positive event for rugby in our country. In addition to ensuring there are open and clear lines of established communication between the union and the players, this agreement will further define a large number of processes and expectations as we move forward. USA Rugby fully supports our players' intent and motive for forming this association," he said.
"I want to thank all that were involved in this process. One that has been collaborative, respectful and always put the progress of our game at the forefront. The word partnership has been prominent and frequent in all discussions"
USA Rugby and the USRPA are currently working on a memorandum of understanding that will serve as a framework for ongoing collaboration and negotitiations.
In the past, player issues with welfare, pay-to-play, late bonus payments, stagnant per diems, etc. have had little recourse. However, with the forming of a players association, these concerns and issues can now be negotiated at a higher level.