Cornish Pirates plan for life after rugby

Players and staff from the Cornish Pirates will gain qualifications to support their career after rugby, thanks to a new Education Development Programme in partnership with Truro and Penwith College that is the first of its kind.

Cornish Pirates players staff and members of the College with Rupert Cooper

The Programme will encourage players and staff to consider their career ambitions and provides them with an opportunity to gain professional qualifications alongside their rugby career in a range of fields from; hospitality, engineering and construction; to business, management and accounting to name a few.


The Pirates were introduced to the new Programme at a recent Launch Day at the Mennaye Field, where former Cornish Pirate and Nottingham player, Rupert Cooper attended as guest speaker to describe his journey from professional player to hospitality professional.


With a career spanning nearly 10 years, Rupert retired from rugby at the end of the 2018/19 season. Having founded the Borgia Bull with his wife Sarah at their home near Hayle during Rupert’s playing career, the pair acquired Philleigh Way in Truro on his retirement.

Rupert Cooper serving lunch at the recent Launch Day

Set just off the coast of the Fal River, Philleigh Way is a cookery school that offers unique dining experiences including the hugely popular Woodfired Feast Nights.


Rupert has been working with the College’s Hospitality Table Cornwall Project and prepared lunch as part of the event to give the Pirates a taste of his food.


Rupert commented: “It takes a lot of work to make it as a professional rugby player, and once players get there they can have tunnel vision, focusing only on rugby, not considering different career paths. Introducing the Education Development Programme is a great way to get players thinking about their next steps and it’s brilliant they have an opportunity to gain qualifications along the way”.

Rupert Cooper at the Lauch Day

Jean Baptiste Bruzulier, Scrum Half at the Cornish Pirates said: “I loved the session and the boys really enjoyed it too. It’s something we joke about, but it’s so important for us to prepare for life after rugby, I wish I did this years ago!”


Having been introduced to the programmes available the players and staff are now mauling over their options ahead of signing up for their chosen courses and attending College inductions.


Robin James, COO, Cornish Pirates said: “We are excited about the Education Development Programme, which is designed to further our players education. There has been significant interest in a number of courses, most notably; starting your own business, coaching & personal training and hospitality. A rugby player’s career is short and it’s vitally important for them to have something to fall back on.”

Rupert Cooper describes his journey from player to hospitality professional

Martin Tucker, Director of Truro and Penwith College Business commented: The College is committed to working with partnership with Cornish employers to develop programmes that deliver results in the workplace. The Education Development Programme with the Cornish Pirates is a unique project that we are thrilled to be part of. We look forward to welcoming the players to the College and are excited to see where the training takes them”.  


For help and advice on the College’s range of professional training contact Truro and Penwith College Business on 01872 242711 or