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Newcastle say £100k England fees row 'blown out of all proportion'

By Liam Heagney

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Newcastle have claimed that the revelation they withheld payments of around £100,000 from their England players for their involvement in the recent Autumn Nations Series was a story that got “blown out of all proportion”. The Falcons have been enjoying a large increase in national squad representation in recent times under Eddie Jones. 

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Whereas before, the currently injured back-rower Mark Wilson used to be their sole representative, a raft of other players have now forced their way into the reckoning with England.  

Hooker Jamie Blamire featured in all three November wins over Tonga, Australia and South Africa, with Trevor Davison (Australia), Adam Radwan (Tonga) and Callum Chick (didn’t play) also chosen in the squad by Jones for the series. 

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England players apparently receive their image rights from the RFU through a company set up by the RPA, but match fees and training money gets distributed via their clubs and is supposed to be added to the monthly pay packets.

However, a story emerged earlier this week that Newcastle allegedly withheld approximately £100,000 in payments due to the four players who had featured in the England squad for the autumn series. 

Club boss Richards, though, insisted the issue had been rectified and was simply a miscommunication rather than the controversial story it was presented as. “Sometimes things get blown out of all proportion,” he said ahead of this Friday’s Challenge Cup game at Biarritz.   

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“I have known it before in the past, you have this perfect storm and some people are a bit more mischievous than others. The whole issue was a miscommunication which was resolved very quickly. It has been resolved and players are happy. Miscommunications are things that you don’t like to have.”

It was last June, ahead of the summer series versus the USA and Canada, when England boss Jones outlined what he particularly liked about Newcastle in recent times under Richards. “It’s the quality of players,” he enthused.

Dean has got an uncanny eye to pick out talent and they usually come through the unusual pathways, not the usual way with (England) 16s, 18s, the 20s. They usually come through a more diverged pathway and he has got an eye for that talent. They have played consistently well and they are being rewarded for their performances.”

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