As another international window wrapped up on the final weekend of November, some of the world's leading rugby players gathered in Monaco for the International Rugby Players Council, including Cardiff Blues' very own, Blaine Scully.
The USA captain joined global superstars of past and present - including Brian O’Driscoll, Johnny Sexton, Jamie Roberts and Thierry Dusautoir - to discuss some of the burning issues surrounding the modern game.
The meetings were held following the annual World Rugby awards, where the Ireland senior men side dominated the evening.
Scully, who is also a senior figure at the United States Rugby Players Association, emphasised the importance of having the players’ voices heard and believes the experience will enhance him as a rugby player and a person, both on and off the field.
“We came together to look at various different issues that the current game faces including player loading, the international calendar, concussions in preparation for a meeting the next day with World Rugby,” said Scully.
“With the way the game is changing, it’s crucial that the players have a voice of their own. We’re one of the fundamental stakeholders in the game and we touch almost every aspect.
“Being at the coal-face of the game, we’re usually in a pretty good position to add some valuable prespective and that’s both on and off the field. We’re usually the first ones to feel the demands.
“It was a great opportunity to be exposed to players who have been at the forefront of the game for a very long time and have incredibly valuable experience to share.
“To be involved in those conversations and learning to grow and evolve as a rugby player but also as a person is an important component of being a wholesome player. It’s not just about the athlete, it’s about the person.
“We’ll connect quarterly to touch base and keep connected on various different issues. We’ll want to continue to push forward the player perspective and add value to where we can contribute to a better game.
“We all want the game to be the best for everyone and it’s something we all share and want to participate in.”
For more information about the International Rugby Players, please visit rugbyplayers.org