Rugby: Australian Super Rugby players asked to take 65 percent pay cut

Rugby Australia (RA) has reportedly asked their professional players to take a whopping 65 percent pay cut.

The Australian claims RA wants its 192 professional players to take a massive cut, while they're currently not playing, due to the coronavirus pandemic that has brought the sporting world to a halt. 

The request comes after the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) tabled an offer of a 42 percent wage cut for the next three months.

But RA hit back, asking for a bigger cut to last until September 30, extending the original 90-day request.

By comparison, the All Blacks tipped to take a 10 percent cut, Wales' players are taking a 25 percent reduction, while Fiji's have reportedly taken 40 percent. 

If a deal cannot be reached by next week, Super Rugby clubs may begin standing down players, something Waratahs chairman Roger Davis doesn't want to happen. 

"The Super clubs have been remarkably consistent," Davis told The Australian. "We tend to move together, we have a shared problem and that is the combined solvency of our clubs. 

"We are hoping for the best, but planning for the worst. At NSW, we simply can’t wait for this to be resolved - if necessary, we will move independently.

“We are considering standing down the players if there is no agreement between the parties next week, but we’re hopeful it will not come to that.

"Unfortunately, we are not party to the negotiations and have no influence over them.

"We've stood down 75 percent of our staff already, we can't be fiddling while Rome burns.

"[Standing down the players] is seriously being considered in absence of any other option."

Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle.
Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle. Photo credit: Photosport

RA is being represented by former board member Brett Robinson and chief executive Raelene Castle, while RUPA chief executive and former Wallaby Justin Harrison is leading negotiations on behalf of the players.

Last week, Castle took a 50 percent pay cut, while her executive team have taken 30 percent, with about 100 RA employees stood down until June 30.

Kiwi Castle is under immense pressure and her job is currently on the line, after reportedly rejecting a AU$20million-per-year offer from Foxtel for broadcast rights, about a third of the current deal.

RA announced a provisional loss of AU$9.4m at its annual meeting last week and is staring at a AU$120m revenue black hole this year, if there is no return to the field.

Wallabies great Phil Kearns loomed as a possible replacement, while former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons believed Castle was the victim of sexism.