James King, the Ospreys and Wales back row forward has been elected by fellow professional rugby players as the new Chair of the Welsh Rugby Players Association (WRPA).
He was unanimously elected by the player collective at the WRPA’s Annual General Meeting held at the Vale Resort.
James succeeds the popular Scarlets, Wales and British & Irish Lions hooker, Ken Owens, who has decided to stand down after completing a successful five years in post. He will Chair the Executive Committee of Jake Ball, Steff Hughes, Dan Lydiate, Lewis Evans, Tyler Morgan, Josh Turnbull and Ellis Jenkins, who represent the voices of all players in relation to issues in the game.
The WRPA – led by recently appointed Chief Executive Barry Cawte – also plays an important role in player personal development, through an industry-leading Personal Development Programme and a range of other initiatives.
James King said:
“It’s a huge honour to be elected as Chairman of our players’ association and I’ll do my very best to represent their views and interests as we contribute towards the success and sustainability of the game in Wales.
I’ve been heavily involved in Welsh rugby for over 10 years both on and off the field and I’m confident that I’ve built up the knowledge and experience to provide an equal and just view as chairman moving forward.
“On behalf of every player, I’d like to thank Ken for the years of service he’s given to the WRPA as Chairman. On and off the pitch, he gives you everything; and he’s put in so many hours of effort which have never gone unrecognised and I’m extremely proud to be carrying on the hard work that he’s put in over the last five years.
“As an advocate of every player being heard and having a voice, I am excited to welcome this new challenge and thank everyone for their support.”
Ken Owens said:
“I can honestly say that being elected by your fellow players and standing up for them across our game has been an unbelievable privilege. James and the WRPA can, of course, count on my support in any way that’s helpful in the future.
“The last five years have seen some real highs and lows for Welsh rugby, including Grand Slam victory, becoming the world’s number one rugby nation and developing so many talented players through into the Regional and national setups, through to the huge uncertainty for Regional players, fans and staff over Project Reset.
“The WRPA has had to develop a strong voice and do more than ever to offer players support and development. With James as Chairman, the Executive Committee, Barry Cawte and his team running the organisation, and the help of Non-Executives, I’m confident the WRPA can do even more in the years ahead.”
Barry Cawte, WRPA Chief Executive, said:
“I’m looking forward to working with James, who is passionate about the success and future of rugby players and the game in Wales. This is a really important period of growth and development for the WRPA, and under James’s chairmanship and with the support of his fellow player representatives on the wider Executive Committee we can go from strength-to-strength.
“I would also like to thank Ken for the fantastic job he has done as Chairman. He has been careful to represent the interests of all players from all different circumstances and on a personal level, he has been incredibly supportive to me in my first year in post. I know he will continue to offer that support and to James as his successor.”