Australia’s professional rugby players have returned to full pay after the players’ association agreed to drastic Wallabies’ match payment cuts as part of the code’s revised collective bargaining agreement.
Rugby Australia expects to save about $2.5 million after the Rugby Union Players Association agreed to effectively halve Wallabies match payments as well as reduce squad sizes and the number of nationally-contracted players.
Super Rugby players were subjected to 40 and then 30 per cent pay cuts as COVID-19 halted play and then forced RA to arrange a domestic season in its place.
Wallabies players were still paid in full for last year’s Tri-Nations though, with RA-contracted players understood to collect about $10,000 per Test appearance.
That pales in comparison to the English, who earned about $40,000 per Test before accepting a 25 per cent reduction last year.
It’s understood those match payments will be roughly halved for the Wallabies this year, allowing funds to be directed to the Wallaroos in a Women’s World Cup year and ensure the country’s Olympic-bound sevens outfits and all Super Rugby players are on full pay.
RUPA now also have a seat on any Rugby AU committee, commission or discussion group responsible for Super Rugby’s direction under the new deal, which will be renegotiated next year.
“I would like to commend Rugby Australia for the spirit of these negotiations, which have happened during a time of great uncertainty and upheaval but have always been respectful, transparent and fair,” RUPA president Matt Toomua, who plays for the Rebels and Wallabies, said.
“The players are passionate about the game in Australia and want to see it succeed on-and-off the field on a consistent basis.
“We’re also acutely aware of the broader impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on society as a whole and acknowledge our fortunate position as professional players that are well supported by values-led organisations.”