The England men’s national rugby union team has ceased its exclusive relationship with the Rugby Players Association (RPA), the labor union for rugby union players from the country.

The relationship, which will end in June 2024, had seen the body exclusively represent the England men’s team in payment negotiations since 2004.

However, there have been changes in the association, which represents more than 1,200 current and former players, over the last few years, most notably the stepping down of its chief executive and founder, Damian Hopley.

At the time, the RPA said it would be carrying out a strategic review to ensure it was “fit for the future”, a goal that may now be clouded by losing its exclusive partnership with the England men’s team.

In 2020, England international Ellis Genge expressed his desire to see a new union preside over English rugby players, and in December 2023 it was announced that around 25 England internationals will receive “enhanced” contracts that will grant the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) governing body more power over their schedules and workloads.

The RPA stated: “We will continue to support, promote, and protect all elite players in the English game via RPA representation, including those selected to play for the England Men’s side.”

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By GlobalData

The body added that a current England men’s international player had placed on record that the squad had given the RPA its backing to continue to support English rugby union, however, it did not state who the squad will be choosing as its next representative body.

The RPA stated that over its tenure as the team’s official representative body, England national team players had become the “best rewarded” in global rugby union.