At OCM, we encourage our clients to pursue interests outside of professional sport, whether it be furthering their education or working in a business. With sport on hold for the foreseeable future due to the global pandemic, the emphasis on professional athletes having options outside of sport has never been greater. We caught up with OCM client, Kieran Murphy, to talk all things rugby and professional development.
Tell us a bit about your rugby career to date
I started playing semi-pro rugby with Llandovery in the Welsh Premiership. From there, I was picked up by the Scarlets on an 8-week trial and managed to secure a 2-year deal off the back of that. Then, I moved to France and played two seasons at Brive in the Top 14, before joining London Welsh, and then on to Ealing.
What has been the highlight of your career?
I think whenever you win something as a group it’s a great feeling, so winning the B&I Cup with London Welsh and Ealing stands out. Also, when we won the Championship Cup with Ealing, beating London Irish in the final – that was a great moment.
Personal highlights for me would be making my Scarlets debut and also playing in the Heineken Cup. Also, having an involvement in the senior Welsh squad was a great experience.
Whilst playing at Ealing you started studying to become a chartered financial planner. How long have you been doing this and which qualifications do you have?
I have been studying for about 18 months now and have completed the R01 and R05 exams. Due to the lockdown I haven’t been able to sit exams for the past 4 months, but once everything is back up and running, I will be ready to sit the R04 and R02 exams.
How did you find balancing life as a professional athlete with studying?
It’s been really good for me, there are definitely days when you feel exhausted from training and just want to head home but luckily, we have a group of us who are all studying, and we push each other to keep working. Admittedly the first 20 minutes is mainly rugby chat but after that we get down to business.
Do you think it is important for professional athletes to have an interest outside of their sport and what benefits can it bring to your game?
I believe it’s incredibly important. There are the obvious things that everybody talks about, you can get injured at any time, you might not get another contract etc. These are valid points and its incredibly important that you’re ready if this does happen. However, having a focus outside of rugby, I feel has really helped me become a better professional. It allows you to switch off a bit more and not get consumed by a bad game or training session. In addition, it’s also helped me become more diligent and focused with my analysis of upcoming teams as you realise that not all work is done on the pitch or in the gym. Lastly it increases your appreciation for how fortunate we are to be in the position we are. It’s a good mix to have your head in the books during the week and then being able to let off some steam at the weekend.
If you could speak to your 20-year old self, what advice would you give him with regards to planning for life outside of rugby?
Start now! I became a very good FIFA player in my early 20’s and I drank a lot of coffee, but I definitely could have used my time more wisely. Also, you don’t have to have it all figured out, just try as many things as you can.
With that in mind, would role do you think an agency should have in assisting with your development outside of sport, both professionally and financially?
An agency can play a really important role. The span of a rugby career will see you buying your first car, your first house, getting married and potentially having children. These are all massive steps in your life and to have a support network in place that you trust will be hugely beneficial. Ultimately our careers will end and the role of an agency like OCM in maximising your rugby career but also taking care of you off the field is invaluable. Life doesn’t stop when rugby stops and having an agency that is invested in your success throughout the entirety of your career makes hanging up the boots a little less painful.
And lastly, we’ve all been spending a lot of time at home recently. What film, series or book can you recommend to keep us entertained?
One of the best things I’ve seen in lockdown is The Last Dance – an incredible insight into the Chicago Bulls dynasty. Also, the Netflix series Ozark, probably not the best role model for an aspiring financial planner but it’s a great watch!