Super Rugby players and Rugby AU agree to updated pay deal

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australia's Super Rugby players will take 30 per cent pay cuts until September 30 after a new deal was agreed to just two days out from Super Rugby AU.

Players from the Brumbies, Rebels, Waratahs and Reds and Rugby Australia agreed to the updated conditions late Wednesday after just over a week of negotiations.

Under the existing deal, players were on an average of 60 per cent cuts weighted towards the highest-paid players but this new agreement will be applied as a uniform reduction across the board.

A deal was all but finalised on Tuesday with the final sign-off from all parties received on Wednesday.

There were reports last week that frustrated players were threatening potential strike action and though that appeared extremely unlikely, Wednesday's news will come as somewhat of a relief for Australian rugby as it turns its focus to on-field action.

This new reduction is in line with the pay cuts that Rugby Australia's executive are currently on and that of Wallabies coach Dave Rennie when he begins his tenure.

The 30 per cent reduction also applies to match payments and bonuses.

The players' original deal, struck in April, was set to run until September 30 but with the Super Rugby AU competition confirmed, that agreement was renegotiated.

Another agreement will be negotiated when plans for the Wallabies 2020 season are clearer, something that is still under a cloud amid international travel restrictions.

Rugby Australia CEO Rob Clarke praised the playing group for their "cooperation" in the negotiations.

“Australians all around the country are currently facing an incredibly difficult economic environment and rugby is certainly no different," he said.

“The professional players have acknowledged the important role they play in ensuring the future health of rugby in Australia and I thank them for their cooperation throughout this negotiation, to ensure the competition starts this coming Friday night.

“Vodafone Super Rugby AU is just days away from kick off and now is the time to celebrate the fantastic athletes we have here in this country. The competition will be fast and free-flowing and I know how keen the players are to put on a show.

“We’ve already seen the return of the grassroots game in the Northern Territory and South Australia over the last weekend and we’re working very hard to ensure the community game returns in every State and Territory in the coming weeks and look forward to supporting the Member Unions in facilitating that."

Australia's Sevens players remain on the original deal and what their future looks like is still yet to be confirmed after the remainder of the World Series season was cancelled on Tuesday.

The Force are not covered by this deal as they are funded privately, by mining magnate Andrew Forrest.