On the Ball: The Rugby Union Conference

On the Ball: The Rugby Union Conference

Morgan Sports Law and Kings Chambers co-hosted ‘On the Ball: The Rugby Union Conference’ in December 2020.

A conference for players, agents, clubs, governing bodies and all those interested in the sport of rugby union. This two-day event, featuring panels of industry-leading experts, tackled some of the most important legal and business issues that are impacting the game, now and into the future.

The conference, which took place virtually, was divided into four key webinars, each with a dynamic panel discussion, followed by a Q&A – see topic details and speakers below.


Session Recordings Available

Recordings of each session are available to watch on-demand. If you wish to view any of the sessions below, please email events@morgansl.com.



  • The International Movement of Rugby Players

    A discussion of the big talking points surrounding the movement of players between clubs: considerations for players, agents and clubs when making approaches to players who are under contract (following the van Rensburg case); World Rugby’s residency rules; and the impact of Brexit. Does, or will, rugby have a football-esque transfer market?

    Chair: Steven Flynn (Barrister at Kings Chambers)

    • Angus Bujalski (Legal and Governance Director at the RFU)
    • Blaine Scully (Former USA Rugby Captain & Co-Founder of the US Rugby Players Association)
    • Matthew Ginvert (Rugby Agent & Managing Director at International Player Management Ltd)
    • Martin Budworth (Barrister at Kings Chambers)

    • Tim O’Connor (Barrister-at-Law, Ireland)


  • Employment Contracts in Rugby & Premiership Rugby’s Salary Cap

    In the first part of this session, we were joined by Premiership Rugby’s salary cap manager, Andrew Rogers, to discuss the Premiership’s new salary cap regulations. The second part was a discussion of the key issues surrounding player contracts, ranging from the varying contractual models used across the game, to the actions taken by clubs in response to COVID-19, on which we will hear from industry-leading experts and players. What are players’ rights? And would a US-style CBA be beneficial?

    Chair: Ben Cisneros (Trainee Solicitor at Morgan Sports Law)


    • Andrew Rogers (Premiership Rugby Salary Cap Manager)
    • Damian Hopley (Founder and CEO of the Rugby Players Association)
    • Dave Attwood (Bristol Bears & England International Rugby Player)
    • Laura Gould (Barrister at Kings Chambers)


  • Disciplinary Issues in Rugby

    A detailed look at some of the topical disciplinary issues in rugby. What are the reasons behind World Rugby’s much-discussed High Tackle Framework, and how is it being applied by disciplinary panels? How should rugby deal with discriminatory remarks made on or off the pitch? Are governing bodies handling breaches of their betting rules in the right way?

    Chair: Ben Cisneros (Trainee Solicitor at Morgan Sports Law)

    • Christopher Quinlan QC (Independent Chairman of World Rugby’s Judicial Panel & Head of the Sports Group at Guildhall Chambers)
    • Dave Attwood (Bristol Bears & England International Rugby Player)
    • James Bailey (Former Professional Rugby Player & Diversity and Inclusion Consultant to the Rugby Players Association)
    • Leon Lloyd (Former England International Rugby Player & Rugby Judicial Officer)
    • Steven Flynn (Barrister at Kings Chambers)


  • The Future of Rugby

    A final session considering how the game will look one, five and ten years from now. How will rugby emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, and will private equity hold the key to its future growth? What role will player unions have and are their current models broken? Will there ever be a ‘global calendar’, and would the Lions survive it? How will the women’s game develop, and what more can be done to protect players?

    Chair: Wayne Barnes

    • Andrew Trimble (Former Ireland International Rugby Player & CEO of Kairos)
    • Ben Pegna (Director at Pacific Rugby Players Welfare & Former Professional Rugby Player)
    • James King (Founder of New Model Venture Capital & Co-Founder of the Rugby Players Epoch Concept)
    • Sene Naoupu (Ireland International Rugby Player and Member of World Rugby’s Women’s Advisory Committee


Event Organisers

When Ben Cisneros and Steve Flynn came together to organise the event, they had the primary goal of bringing together industry-leading experts to discuss the most important legal and business issues that are impacting the game. We believe that the group of speakers and panellists provided invaluable insight into what is currently happening within the sport, and what will and needs to happen going forward. From that perspective, we view the event as a great success. The fact that over 250 attendees tuned into the sessions over the two-days is testament to that.

In the meantime, if you have any legal or regulatory issues that require expert assistance, then please feel free to contact Ben or Steve:



 Steve Flynn
 Kings Chambers





 Ben Cisneros
 Trainee Solicitor
 Morgan Sports Law



On the Ball 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first edition of the conference was held virtually. We intend to run a similar event next year. We will be sharing details in due course with further information about ‘On the Ball’ in 2021.


Feedback & Expressions of Interest

We are always open to feedback and would welcome any ideas that you may have, or equally any expressions of interest from those who would like to contribute, please email events@morgansl.com.