Team-mates Jake Heenan and Luke Morahan receive this season's third Rugby Players Association Gain Line Award for their Burra café brand.
First launched in February 2021, Burra has already become a firm favourite with Bristolian coffee lovers. The inner-city café is known for the locally-sourced produce on its menu and excellent customer service.
And of course, for its great coffee.
“Our product is more than coffee, more than food, it’s the experience,” explains Jake. “How we treat our customers – that’s the product.”
Past winners of the Vodafone Gain Line Award include Jodie Ounsley, the first deaf woman to play in the England Sevens squad.
Although the award focuses on life after rugby, it’s clear that the spirit and camaraderie of the sport continues to help players in many other aspects of life.
“I walked in this morning – it’s our day off today – and there were three tables with guys here from the team and their families,” Luke laughs. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”
That support network of friends and family has been vital to Burra’s success. Jake’s wife Adele manages the day-to-day operations and Luke’s wife Daisy designed the cosy, welcoming interior of the café and Burra brand.
Fans of the British and Irish Lions may well remember Luke Morahan’s stunning try for the Queensland Reds in the 2013 Tour, widely considered to be one of the tournament’s best.
Although now a long way from their home nations of New Zealand and Australia, Jake and Luke have embraced West Country culture. Their coffee suppliers are Bristol-based and all produce on the menu is sourced from within 25 miles (40km) of the city, even down to the flour in their pastries.
This community spirit and focus on sustainability helped them secure a nomination for ‘Café of the Year’ in the Bristol Life Awards 2022.
The Rugby Players Association (RPA) helps players to think about life after rugby; offering resources to develop their skills and manage the transition to regular life after sport.
From solar-powered pizzas to trailer coffee and clothing, it’s clear that the rugby-related skills of teamwork, determination and persistence are helping many professional players cross over into business, supported by the RPA.