Rugby Players Who Ruck The Corporate Circuit
The annual Six Nations is in full swing, in what is sure to be a pivotal championship as the nation’s fine tune their final preparations for the Rugby World Cup taking place in Japan later this year. The Rugby world has dramatically changed since the sport turned professional twenty odd years ago. Sports science and nutrition, complemented with specialised coaches, leadership models and team culture, have driven the game into unchartered territories.
What’s more, a post-rugby career has evolved from the hilarious Q&A and recital of outrageous dressing rooms stories, into eloquent, inspirational and fascinating insights the business world can learn from.
So whether it’s a recent retiree with a wealth of knowledge, or perhaps a speaker with strong leadership skills, to a famous face to hand out awards or lead a Q&A session, the diverse range of speakers that hail from the rugby world consistently deliver.
A sprinkling of star dust raises the bar of any event, but two modern-day rugby legends have imposed their presence on the corporate scene. Brian O’Driscoll and Sam Warburton, former Ireland and Wales captains respectively, as well as British and Irish Lions legends, are tremendous leaders who achieved unparallel success for their clubs and countries. Standouts at any event, their answers reveal a wealth of knowledge to absorb that even novice of rugby fans will enjoy.
Just like a high-performing rugby team who need to succeed under the greatest pressures, businesses need leaders to inspire their team to move in the right direction.
Strong leadership intertwined with heart-stopping and inspiring stories from the world of rugby, Ben Ryan, Sean Fitzpatrick, Matt Dawson and Sir Clive Woodward are strong candidates to deliver that game-changing play. Sean Fitzpatrick, ex New Zealand captain and Matt Dawson, England scrum-half, both inspire audiences on how to win on the greatest stage – the Rugby World Cup final. Sir Clive Woodward, who was Matt’s manager who guided England to their 2003 triumph, is highly regarded as a pioneer, while Ben Ryan took minnows Fiji to Olympic Gold Medal glory at the Rio 2016 games.
Perhaps you have an awards night coming up, in which case a star name who can leave your audience with stories to regale in the bar afterwards or to lead an inquisitive Q&A session is just the ticket. Martin Bayfield, Nigel Owens, Gabby Logan and John Inverdale with make your event one to be remembered, oozing with salacious stories from their time in the rugby spotlight, delivered with flare.
But it doesn’t stop there…
For that extra special event, the rugby world has seen high-profile players who have a story to tell criss-crossing their time on and off the pitch. Clinically deaf and loosing his father in a violent attack, Ben Cohen channelled his aggression into sport and was regarded as the best winger in the world. An advocate against bullying in and out of sport, post rugby he set up a foundation to tackle the awareness of long-term effects of bullying and homophobia and is an important ambassador helping the LGBT community.
Ben Kay’s rugby career started at the tender age of 5, fast-forward a few years and was at the heart of England’s Grand Slam victory at the 6 Nations, concerning England’s first ever Test victory on Australian soil and an away game against the All Blacks. Being honoured by the Queen with an MBE for services to rugby, his career has involved some exceptionally momentous moments.
Another former player who smashed a multitude of milestones is Gareth Thomas, who was the first Welsh Rugby player to reach 100 caps, captained the Wales Grand Slam winning team and named the BBC Wales Sport Personality of the Year. In addition to his tremendous sports achievements, he was also the first high-profile sportsman to come out to the world as being gay while still playing – an inspiration to all.
The face of international women’s rugby and representing her country an incredible 74 times, Maggie Alphonsi is a prominent figure in the world of a male dominated sport. After helping England win a record breaking seven consecutive Six Nations crowns, she is a prominent commentator on live rugby matches and was the first former female player to commentate on men’s international rugby.
Following in similar footsteps is 2014 Rugby World Cup winner Sarah Hunter, who most recently lead the team at the 2017 Rugby World Cup final in Ireland, falling slightly short of the win, she inspired a generation of girls and women to begin playing. Maggie and Sarah both inspire through smashing through the glass-ceiling in a male dominated sport.
Regardless if you are after strong leadership skills, a celebrity appearance to hand out award or facilitate a Q&A session, a recent retiree or veteran who have inspired generations both on and off the field, this group of speakers are sure to ruck any corporate event.