You are in a room and a couple of guys with patches walk in, there's nothing said, no announcement no nothing, and then they start doing a drug deal ... A burly drunk patron nudges your team-mate and then starts getting lippy ... A fellow player who is engaged and has a child is getting "fresh" with a female in a bar, she leans in and kisses him and another patron takes a photo ... What do you do?

The Rugby Players Association has been running role-play sessions to teach professional players how to act in situations that, if dealt with incorrectly, could see them shamed by national headlines.

Chief executive Rob Nichol said the association saw it was time that it armed young people with the tools to deal with challenging social situations rather than just punishing them when they slipped up.

Rugby players, as well as other professionals, tended to work hard during the week and liked to let go at the end with a stint in the pub, but they also had their reputations and careers to consider and the media had a field day when a disgraced sports star behaved badly in public, he said.

For the past nine years the association has worked with Core Dynamics Limited to come up with interactive ways to keep players safe - the programme has been kept under the radar until now.

"The Rugby Players Association recognised society did not do a good job of educating young people about how to behave around drugs, alcohol and females and wanted to take a pro-active approach that would teach them to understand they had to take responsibility for themselves," Mr Nichol said.

In previous years the programme has taught players how to help their team-mates from falling prey to situations involving alcohol, drugs, female risk and personal risk when socialising as a group.

Next week they will roll out a new set of role-play situations that will help players deal with these sorts of situations when they are on their own without their team-mates to help them out.

Mr Nichol said the decision was prompted by a series of stories that had been played out in the media involving sports people who had behaved inappropriately when drinking with friends.

Training designer David Tomoana said the role plays were about helping the men decide for themselves how they should act in certain situations.

All Black Keven Mealamu, 30, who went through the programme before playing overseas for the Rugby World Cup, said it armed players with helpful tools, and would have been especially helpful for the younger players.

"You're not going to be able to keep away from everything but we have to be able to recognise it early," he said.