England’s stars will be paid a reduced match fee of £17,250 from this autumn as part of a new arrangement with the Rugby Football Union, the PA news agency understands.

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The poor financial outlook at Twickenham caused by COVID-19 has resulted in the revised amount, representing a £5,750 decrease on the previous figure of £23,000, being agreed with players.

Even allowing for the new, lower, match fee England internationals remain the highest paid in the sport.

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The payment covers appearances, training and image rights and will take effect from October when Eddie Jones’ men play their first meaningful game since March by travelling to Rome to face Italy to complete their 2020 Six Nations campaign.

The Azzurri clash had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic but all Championship matches are due to be completed before the autumn matches begin in November.

COVID-19 is forcing the RFU to make around a quarter of its workforce redundant amid projections that it will lose £107million in a downturn lasting five years.

All levels at Twickenham are facing cuts, including Jones who has agreed to a 25 per cent salary reduction during the crisis and is having to work with a reduced budget.

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