Rugby Players With Interesting Lives Off The Pitch


Rugby players have a well-earned reputation for being fearsome and tough athletes.

While this is certainly a side of every player that steps on the pitch, most have their own passions and goals outside of the sport.

Indeed, it is these hobbies and aspirations that give more character to each player.

Let’s take a look at some famous rugby players in history and their interesting lives outside of the sport.

Tony O’Reilly

O’Reilly is a truly fascinating individual from rugby’s earlier days. He played on numerous teams in his time and represented the Irish national team. For his efforts, he was entered into the International Rugby Board’s Hall of Fame. However, it really is his life outside of the sport that he is most famous for.

In the 1960s, he quickly climbed the ranks and became the head chairman of the Heinz company. The 1970s would see him become a leader in the newspaper industry when he purchased a controlling share of Independent News and Media. His reputation was earned through a series of smart business decisions and achievements. He certainly lived a full life in his time and he is an icon of Irish rugby.

Mike Tindall

Most rugby fans would agree that Mike Tindall has lived quite the illustrious life outside of the sport. While he made his reputation as a hard-hitting player in the 2000s, you may be surprised to learn that he has embraced his hobbies with the same unshakable ambition. Just a few of his passions are business, real estate, horse racing, and professional poker. He is a familiar face at major poker events, so don’t be surprised if you run into rugby captain Mike Tindall in far-away places like Tanzania where he visited in 2017 for a live poker event. In fact, Tindall has gone on to become one of the most famous rugby players in the world.

Tindall married into royalty when he united with Zara Anne Elizabeth Tindall in 2011. This likely opened numerous doors for him. She is an Olympic equestrian herself, so naturally, he became involved in breeding and racing horses as well. After purchasing the interestingly named Monbeg Dude at a charity auction, Tindall entered him into a major event, winning £105,000 when the horse came in 1st place at 40-1 odds. Just another day in the life of Tindall.

Shane Monahan

Monahan is another Irish rugby player who built up quite the fan base during his time in the sport. While he was growing up, Monahan considered himself to be the creative type, and he has dove headfirst into this passion after his rugby career has been completed. Monahan is a talented painter who normally sells his work for between £1,500-2,000. Most of these pieces are portraits of athletes and sports stars, including former teammates, football players, and MMA legend Conor McGregor.

Ben John

Ben John, former centre of the Ospreys, decided to cut his career short at the age of 28. This was in 2019 after a serious concussion. The physical effects of this hard-knock sport are well-known, but many players don’t consider what their life will be like after leaving the game. Now, John has dedicated his life to a noble pursuit.

He is a personal trainer in London that helps rugby players and former athletes that are going through concussion symptoms and health problems. He even started a social media project called Let’s Talk Tuesdays that brings guests on to discuss their experiences. This helps support rugby players on their transition back to normal life after their time as a professional.

Andy Powell

While the sports world is filled with characters and expressive athletes, Powell is in a league of his own. We were collectively devastated when he announced his retirement back in 2016. However, the Welsh former flanker has made quite a name for himself outside of the sport with his massive personality and entertaining antics. He has become famous on social media for his 2nd career as a boxer, a fitting place for the 6’6” intimidating man. Powell has even had a semi-pro fight against another former rugby player, James Haskell.

However, it seems his love for the sport of rugby has won out yet again. Just this year, Powell has returned to the sport with a new coaching job in England. He is now the head coach of Southwell RFC in Nottinghamshire. It seems this man’s fascinating story will continue.

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