Rugby Australia and the players’ union are inching closer to an agreement on an interim pay deal, but at least one Super Rugby team received some pay relief on Tuesday. RA and the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) resumed talks after failing to thrash out an agreement on pay cuts over Easter. A two-hour video conference included player representatives from each of Australia’s professional programs and the four Super Rugby teams.
They were joined by RA directors Phil Waugh and Daniel Herbert, chief executive Raelene Castle, RUPA chairman Campbell Fisher and CEO Justin Harrison. “We have made good progress today following a meeting with RUPA and a number of players from across each of our professional teams,” Castle said in a statement.
“There are 192 professional players across the country and we understand RUPA wanting to consult broadly with their membership on these discussions.
“Both parties appreciate what is at stake and the players recognise their role and shared responsibility in securing the future and helping the game navigate through this unprecedented challenge.
“We thank RUPA and the players for working constructively towards finding a short-term solution to shore up the long-term future of Rugby in Australia.”
RA is believed to have asked the players to accept a 65 per cent wage reduction over a six-month period. There was some positive news for the Waratahs on Tuesday after NSW Rugby decided to follow the recent example of the Brumbies in paying their players in full this month.
It’s believed back-dated adjustments will be made to their salaries later in the year, once an agreement on the scale of the pay cuts have been finalised.
Earlier this month NSW Rugby stood down around 70 per cent of their non-playing staff including Waratahs’ coach Rob Penney, who has returned to New Zealand for the time being.
There had been suggestions the players would be stood down, but only as a final resort. The Reds and Rebels are due to pay their players later in the month, but by that time a pay cut agreement is expected to be in place.
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