Northampton Saints winger Tom Collins has been named the winner of the first RPA Gain Line Award of the 2019/20 season.
The award was created to celebrate the proactivity and off-field achievements of RPA members.
The electric winger has had a bright start to the new season, topping the Premiership Rugby stats for clean breaks and scoring five tries in 13 starts.
“I don’t want to be a player who struggles, I want to be a player who can make a smooth transition and enjoy life after rugby.”Tom Collins
Now in his eighth year at Franklin’s Gardens, Collins is interested in working within the Construction Management industry once he retires from rugby.
In November, the 25-year-old completed an Advanced Diploma in Construction Management with ‘Excellent’ grades in 12 of the 13 units, completing the course in just four months with a high level of motivation and dedication.
In addition to his education, Collins is also currently completing weekly work experience with Colonial Construction, which followed on from a full-time work experience placement during the summer. He harbours aspirations to gain a degree within construction management, and is working closely with his RPA Development Manager to research which course and institution is best suited to him.
“What motivates me most are the stories about players who have been at the very top level, but then just struggled with retirement,” Collins said. “I don’t want to be a player who struggles, I want to be a player who can make a smooth transition into it, and enjoy life after rugby.
“The Club have been really good in helping me out. Nicky Browne, who is HR Director at Saints, has helped me along the way and given me a lot of support both on and off the pitch.
“I love playing rugby now, but I also want to enjoy that next step – I don’t want it to a be a step down for me, and I feel like If I can make it as smooth as possible that’s the way forward.”
Huge congratulations to @SaintsRugby flyer @ThomasCollins13 on winning the RPA's Winter GainLine Award.— The RPA (@theRPA) January 29, 2020
Tom has shown great determination to be successful both off and on the pitch 👏
Read more about his success outside of rugby here 👉 https://t.co/4YsPYGAJHD#ForOurPlayers pic.twitter.com/1WCvLFeb9P
Luke Cheyne, RPA Development Manager for Northampton Saints, added: “Tom engages in every aspect of the Gain Line programme and actively seeks out opportunities for personal and professional growth off the pitch.
“He is a very independent, motivated and highly-driven individual who recognises the importance of putting the plans in place for his retirement, and whilst he hopes that may not be for another decade or so, he understands that professional sport is unforgiving and can change at the drop of a hat.”
This is the first of three Gain Line Awards to be made in the 2019/20 season, with further winners to be announced in February and April. The award highlights a player’s off-field personal development success and is judged by a panel consisting of RPA Player Welfare Director, Richard Bryan, RPA Non-Executive Director, Joe Ryan, and RPA Alumni Representatives, Chris Bentley and Rob Vickerman.
The RPA Gain Line Programme (jointly funded by the RPA, RFU and Premiership Rugby) is a central pillar of the RPA and provides its members with essential off-field education, personal development, career transition opportunities and welfare support.