The Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) has today announced the three nominees for the Personal Development Programme Award to be presented at the RPA Players’ Awards 2017 in association with England Rugby on Wednesday 10th May in London.

Tom Court (London Irish), Nick De Luca (Wasps) and Sam Smith (Former Worcester Warriors and Harlequins) have all been shortlisted for the award which is given to an individual who has shown outstanding commitment to their off-field development.

Exiles prop and former Ireland and British & Irish Lions forward Tom Court has always juggled rugby and off-field development superbly. Having developed a speech therapy educational app, Tom has explored a number of routes to market including the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy.

With an undergraduate Bachelor of Science Degree and a Diploma in Entrepreneurism already under his belt, Tom began a masters at the University of Queensland which he is now following up at the University of Derby with a Master’s conversion in Counselling Psychology. Once complete, Tom will be accredited with the British Psychiatry Association.

“I’m flattered and humbled to be nominated for this brilliant award. I appreciate all the fantastic support and help I have received throughout my career, and it’s all contributed to helping me plan for a successful future post-rugby. The RPA has been a massive help to me, and I’m really grateful that all the work I have put in off the pitch has been recognised,” said Tom.

Nick De Luca has proactively prepared for his transition throughout his career and has participated in as many personal development opportunities as possible.

The Wasps centre who has 43 Scotland caps to his name will retire from professional rugby at the end of the season to begin his next chapter at Uppingham School as Director of Rugby, and as a Business and Economics Teacher.

Former Worcester Warriors and Harlequins wing, Sam Smith has recently set up his very own coffee shop business ‘Waylands Yard’ in Worcester City centre.

Forced to retire in August 2016 due to injury, Sam had long been planning to set up a coffee shop whilst playing professional rugby and has previously actively engaged in several aspects of personal development to work towards this including the completion of his diploma in coffee and engaging in insight opportunities with local coffee suppliers and coffee shops.

Sam also graduated from the Open University in 2016 with a first-class honours degree in Politics and Economics.

Be the 16th man cheering the players on in the next step back to the Premiership. Tickets for the home Play-off Semi-final against Doncaster Knights on Saturday 6 May at the Madejski Stadium are on sale from or by calling 0118 968 1016 #StrongerTogether.

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