Australian Rugby Players Take 23% Pay Cut In New Deal With ARU
Australia's top rugby players have accepted a 23% "cut in their Test match fee" from A$13,100 ($12,600) per game to A$10,000 over the next four years, according to REUTERS. The Australian Rugby Union, whose coffers "were only partially replenished" by this year's British and Irish Lions tour, has "engaged in a raft of cost-cutting measures" since new CEO Bill Pulver took over earlier this year. The new deal with the Rugby Union Players' Association also includes a A$5M annual salary cap for each of the five Australian Super Rugby franchises. Pulver: "This agreement has been achieved through a culture of collaboration and partnership between players and ARU to generate strategies to address the game's current challenges. This deal is arguably the most significant of its kind since rugby turned professional in 1995." The deal will run from '14-17 (REUTERS, 10/23).
NEW COMPETITION: In Sydney, Bret Harris reported Pulver "wants to create a western Sydney team to play in a national club competition to provide rugby union with a foothold in the greatest battleground in Australian sport." Pulver "believes a western Sydney team competing in a national competition would help to develop more players and attract more supporters to the game." The ARU "is seeking television and sponsorship partners to fund the national club competition, which would run in September and October." It "is also looking at a Super Rugby development competition," which could be incorporated into the Int'l Rugby Board-funded Pacific Nations Cup (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/24).