Rugby Australia reaches pay-cut deal with professional players

Australia's Super Rugby players have agreed on a 60 percent salary cut with Rugby Australia.

After nearly three weeks of discussions between the two parties, the deal was announced on Monday night, but the Rugby Union Players' Association (RUPA) has called for a complete review of the code.

The financial resolution will ensure both RA and the RUPA can move on with some certainty for at least the next six months, as COVID-19 threatens to wipe out the entire season.

RA said all 192 professional contracted players would take an average 60 percent pay cut through to the end of September, unless Super Rugby resumed at an earlier date, at which point new terms would be negotiated. 

The long-term sustainability of the game in Australia is now the RUPA's primary focus, calling for a "root and branch reform of the game".

"Australia's professional players will play a central role in the short-term preservation of the game by accepting a significant reduction in pay in order for necessary transformation to begin," said RUPA chief executive and former Wallabies lock Justin Harrison.

"Immediate attention must now turn to the long-term sustainability of the game and this agreement allows the players to make a significant contribution to that.

"RUPA will work closely with the member unions to achieve this.

"RUPA believes in the need for transformation. This process has enabled a greater understanding of the need for root-and-branch reform of the game."

RA CEO Raelene Castle is delighted all parties can now move forward in trying to preserve rugby after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"This has not been an easy discussion, but it has been a necessary one to ensure that we can emerge from the other side of this crisis in the best possible position for the game to move forward," Castle said.

"It is important to note that these measures are a stop-gap, not a full-stop.

"We are deep into our planning to ensure we can navigate our way through this and be ready for competition to resume as soon as that is possible.

"The players have been involved in this process, and we look forward to continuing that work and seeing them back out on the field doing what they do best."