Players First

About the Program


Recognizing that retirement from elite competition has the potential to be a highly distressing event for many professional rugby players, The Sharks launched the Players First program in order to ensure that their players are fully prepared to make the transition to life after retirement, by encouraging each individual to take ownership of their career, both on and off the field, as well as providing them with access to the knowledge, skills, and experience which they require to do so.


To be an innovative and progressive professional rugby club which adopts a holistic approach towards player development, by seeking to transform the players into exceptional human-beings who are fully prepared to enter the next phase of their lives, post a successful rugby career.


To create structures and programs that will support professional rugby players and enable them to seamlessly transition to a fulfilling and sustainable life after rugby, through the development of new skills and competencies, as well as the exploration of potential business and investment opportunities which are aligned with their unique interests and personal goals.

  • Personal Growth.
  • Professional Mindset.
  • Innovation.
  • Meaningful Impact.
Programs and Activities

The program will specifically focus on the following areas:

The Business Development Office & Entrepreneurship Academy

Endowment & Investment Opportunities

Education Development

Life Coaching & Mentoring Program

Post Rugby Career Development

Friends of The Sharks

Furthermore, The Sharks aim to create of a culture of mental wellbeing in order to break down the stigma that is commonly associated with mental health in professional sport. By doing this, program seeks to normalize the need for support, thereby creating an environment where it is easier for players to be open about any challenges which they may be experiencing as well as receive support which is aimed at helping them overcome any anxiety and/or perceived loss of identity associated with their retirement.

Program Partners

Afros Chicken Shop

As part of The Sharks Entrepreneurship Academy (“SEA”), which is aimed at training players on the intricacies of business, whilst enabling them to potentially benefit from the acquisition of a trading entity, The Sharks have already acquired an Afro’s Chicken Store in Umhlanga as the first franchise entity that will be managed by the SEA.

Both Afro’s and The Sharks are Durban based and bred and have a deep commitment to supporting Durban and its surrounding communities.  The partnership between the Sharks and Afro’s will allow this community support to be extended beyond Durban – every outlet will encourage entrepreneurship, create employment, empower local management and generally provide mechanisms to uplift local communities with ethical brands and inspirational leadership / heroes! 

Many Sharks players and management are already Afro’s customers and have a positive brand affinity.  Chicken is a protein that rugby players enjoy, and the Afro’s cooking method is healthier than many of our fried competitors.  Afro’s is a cool brand that the Sharks players are happy to engage with!


In addition to our other valued commercial partners, the Players First initiative is incredibly grateful for the support which it is fortunate to receive from FNB, who has very generously offered to act as a sounding board for players to ensure that they are receiving the appropriate financial advice, as well as to assist with arranging job shadow and/or work experience opportunities for the players either directly with the bank or indirectly with their clients.

FNB is one of South Africa’s valuable brands which continues to push and redefine boundaries on what it means to help both its customers and the communities in which they operate. They play a pivotal role in their customers’ lives by empowering them through meaningful and contextual solutions. Accordingly, they have become more than just a bank, but rather a trusted financial services and lifestyle partner..

Many of The Sharks players and management already use FNB as their preferred banking solution. In times of economic uncertainty, it is a relief to know that a reliable partner like FNB is only a click or call away.


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