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Rugby stars start charity to support ex-players

Siya Kolisi
Siya Kolisi captained South Africa to World Cup victory in 2019 and 2023 [Getty Images]

Ten current and former rugby union stars have started a charity to support elite players after they retire from the game.

World Rugby and International Rugby Players are among the organisations supporting the Global Rugby Players Foundation.

Its 10 founding members include former England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, ex-All Blacks number 10 Dan Carter and current South Africa captain Siya Kolisi.

Former Australia skipper George Gregan will chair the charity's board of trustees.

The body will give support to all elite players by offering career coaching, grants and health and wellbeing programmes.

"What a lot of people don’t realise is that a lot of players face many challenges when they step away from playing the game. Rugby has a responsibility to these players," said CEO Sarah Heath.

The charity will open with four pilot schemes next month in Ireland, South Africa, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand before starting its main support schemes in the autumn.

"Over recent years, former players have highlighted the need for further supports as they finish their playing careers,” said International Rugby Players chief executive Omar Hassanein.

"Players can feel lost, and with that comes various challenges."