Elite Sport Career transition through the eyes of: Fergus Mulchrone – London Irish

For some time I’ve been reflecting on the importance of planning for life after Rugby. I want to make sure that when I end my elite career I am prepared, and have clarity in terms of what I want to do next. But I was unsure about how I was going to make this happen. During conversations with my club, Brand You: Sport was recommended to me, a company run by two ex Nike execs, who have built a business with the soul purpose of supporting elite athletes as they prepare for transition out of elite sport. I met with them several times and it soon became clear that working in sports for a sports brand, was an industry that interested me, that could form the basis of my future career.

“My hope is that by writing a blog about my experiences it will encourage other athletes to think about their long-term future.”

Fast forward to today and I’m writing this journal on the eve of my first days work experience, I will be writing and recording my experience over the coming months. My hope is that by writing a blog about my experiences it will encourage other athletes to think about their long-term future.

Brand You: Sport matched me with OPRO, the leading custom fit gum shield specialists. I will be working one day a week at OPROs head office in Hemel Hempstead, working alongside their Sports Marketing Director Daniel Lovat.

Although nervous, having been out of an office environment for about 7 years, I’m very excited and happy that a company this big is willing to take a chance on me and allow me to come in to learn about their business top to bottom.

I’m 31 years of age and know that my time as a rugby player is limited. I’ve seen a lot of guys transition out of rugby in different ways since being at London Irish. Even without a bullet proof plan, I feel the ones that took the time to set out what they wanted, or take a step in the direction they wanted to go in weren’t necessarily more successful, but were more confident and less stressed and that has to be a plus. Hopefully making these moves will also prove beneficial when the rugby contracts dry up!

“Ugo wasn’t forced or pushed out of a career that he loved. He had choices.”

A couple of months ago Ugo Monye came in to the club as a part of a group of players talking about their transition into life after rugby, there were a number of successful and not so successful stories. His was one of the more successful stories and it stuck with me, through networking and work experience, he had options available to him. Ugo was in a position that he had a Rugby contract offer and a job offer at the same time, what a great situation to be in, Ugo wasn’t forced or pushed out of a career that he loved. He had choices.

My main aim from this work experience is to learn as much about the company and help in anyway I can, and to up skill myself so that I’m not completely useless once I make the switch.

I have a couple years of experience from a PR agency when I graduated from University – A marketing degree from Manchester. This experience was good, but made me realise I didn’t want to stay in PR and I didn’t enjoy having to service numerous clients from different industries: travel, food, engineering. Sports is the industry for me, I can’t imagine not being part of this fantastic industry, so as soon as this opportunity at OPRO came up I knew I had to go for it.

On the eve of my first day I read an article gaining an insight into a great leader of the rugby world, Paul O’Connell. His approach to rugby, life and business is a great lesson.


Fergus Mulchrone
London Irish