New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association chief executive Rob Nichol has warned that professional players in New Zealand may have to seek secondary jobs to accompany their rugby careers as the economic impact of COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc.
According to Newshub, players are being told to prepare for a scenario where they will have to work in another profession alongside their rugby commitments as New Zealand Rugby grapples with the financial implications of coronavirus.
Nichol said that while NZR and NZRPA are committed to combatting the virus, which has brought the sporting world to its knees over the past few weeks, the current crisis could have a long-lasting affect on the game in New Zealand.
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“Maybe they’re going to have to step away from rugby,” Nichol told Newshub.
“Maybe rugby does change shape a little bit, and they’re going to have to play a bit more semi-professional and have a career in parallel to professional rugby.
“It may well be that, over the next 18 months to two years, a number of players are going to find themselves having to fall back on that kind of work and actually maybe step away from rugby.”
A move into a secondary job by the likes of All Blacks stars could help sustain the financial futures those at the lower end of the professional spectrum, such as players on low-tier provincial contracts.
This is trying times, even for the most successful unions.https://t.co/2kMN3wfAvz
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 31, 2020
“It is absolutely quite tangible that a number of our players may end up having to go to a career outside of rugby for a period of time,” Nichol said.
Pay cuts are imminent for players in New Zealand, with NZR confirming to AAP that their staff are already taking 20 percent income slash.
“At the end of the day, it is making a sacrifice,” All Blacks midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown told Newshub.
“But if it’s for the game we love, then we’ll do anything.”
His Chiefs and All Blacks teammate Damian McKenzie echoed those sentiments, telling Newshub that rugby’s uncertain future has forced him to survey at his options.
“It definitely puts it into perspective about our careers post-rugby, so now is a good chance to have a think about that sort of stuff.”
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