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Players meet RFU chief as hybrid contract negotiations reach key stage

Jamie George/ PA

The Rugby Football Union has opened up its books to Team England Rugby Ltd as talks over future player contracts reach a key stage.

England captain Jamie George heads the body set up to negotiate commercial agreements with Twickenham after splitting with the Rugby Players’ Association in January.


It was decided by the players that they should have greater independence in talks with the RFU ahead of the introduction of the ‘hybrid’ contracts that will form part of the new elite player squad contracts.

England stars currently receive a match fee of around £20,000 but up to 25 of them are instead to be paid in the region of £160,000 per year under the terms of the hybrid deals.

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Ellis Genge and Anthony Watson, two members of the Team England board that is completed by George, Maro Itoje and Joe Marler, met with RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney on Tuesday.

“There are a lot of negotiations going on at the minute. We had to get our own house in order first, but we’re really happy with where we’re at,” George said.

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“Our entire board met with the RFU around a month ago and they were so open and honest in terms of opening up the books, letting us see everything, proposing how things look going forward.

“This is a collaboration. It’s not us versus them (the RFU). That was exactly why we wanted to do what we have done. Before it just didn’t work, the synergy just wasn’t there.


“We want to go in and say ‘let’s have this conversation’. We understand we are incredibly lucky to do what we do, but also we understand that this is a business and the RFU got hit hard by Covid.

“The finances go way over my head, but we’ve got other people who are able to understand it.

“I run a business on the side and I’ve always been ‘let’s not play any games, let’s get down to the point – what’s realistic here?’ That’s exactly how the conversations have gone.

“It’s about the players having control of our contracts and futures, being at the forefront of it and we’re really happy with the representation we’ve had.

“It’s been brilliant so far. There are obviously going to be challenges in the negotiations, but we have the right people in the right places, represented by the right people.”


The player contracts will form part of the new Professional Game Agreement that will run for eight years from July 1 and provides the framework for the relationship between English rugby’s governing body and its top-tier clubs.

The hybrid contracts are designed to give England head coach Steve Borthwick more control over his players as well as influence Red Rose internationals to stay in the Premiership rather than head to France.

George leads England on their summer tour to Japan and New Zealand with the squad scheduled to depart for Tokyo on Wednesday.



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1 Comment
john 13 days ago

If you are a young player with a good chance of holding a place down in England team you would be crazy to not take it

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Mzilikazi 2 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Very good article, Nic, and I find agreement with what you write virtually 100%. I think this two mach series has increasingly become one which will be very difficult for Ireland to win. After the first game of the last 6N, I would have been very full of confidence taking on the Boks in SA. France beaten by a big margin in France, it looked as if Ireland had emerged in fine form from the World Cup, despite the very narrow loss to the AB’s. But after that game, a slide began, ending with the defeat to England. Ireland were very fortunate to win this years 6N ! And as you so fully expose, this has not been a good season for Leinster, or indeed, in my view, for any Irish province. The Leinster loos to the Bulls, and then Munster letting a glorious chance slip to the Glasgow Warriors down at Thomond. Man, that one will really hurt. And both Connacht and Ulster have at times looked very poor this seaso, bith heavily beaten on occassion. The loss of both Gibson Park and Keenan are huge blows, especially Gibson Park. And there is really only one clear class 10 in the touring party, Jack Crowley, and he is still a very young player learning his trade. If he goes down, heaven help Ireland. And in my view, Ireland do not have a good scrummaging front row, SA do, and in great depth too. But despite all this doom and gloom, I always believe my team can win. Not that they will win, just can ! Ireland will still field what is the best and most talented team overall that I have seen in my lifetime. But the coaching group will really have to step up, no awful decisions like the one made against the AB’s in the QF….keeping the totally spent and poorly performing(on the day) Sexton on for the full 80mins, leaving Crowley on the sidelines. Ireland should never have lost that game !

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Shaylen 5 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Ireland have all the tools required to hurt SA. They develop quick ball, hold onto the ball for long periods, stretch the game when its on, have powerful mobile forwards, a good kicking game and they can hold their own in the scrum. They also can force turnovers regularly and in general do well at the breakdown. When Munster, the Ospreys and Glasgow all won games in SA this year against the Bulls and Stormers they did just that and won. It is also the reason why Ireland won the game at the world cup last year. The problem for Ireland is that SA have all the tools required to hurt them as well and hurt them a great deal more than England did in the Six Nations. They are physical and powerful at the set piece, they rush up and counter the Irish attacking system and they can really attack the breakdown and slow your ball down. Their counterattacking threat is also a big weapon and they score many tries from turnover turning defence into offence in a second. Toulouse and the Bulls nailed Leinster in this way and Glasgow did the same thing to Munster. So the series will be really interesting because both sides are so good at countering each other. Interested to see what kind of surprises Tony Brown springs and how the SA game develops. Feel like SA have more potential to surprise Ireland but then a new coaching set up as well as the fact that Japanese and foreign based players tend to take about 5 to 6 weeks to get up to speed might work in Irelands favour. SA have shipped at least one game in 4 of the last 5 June/July test windows going back to 2018 for this exact reason.

64 Go to comments
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