Wallabies Get Test Pay Cut Under New Australian Rugby Agreement

Wallabies players will get A$3,100 ($3,000) less per Test match under a new pay structure for Australian rugby over the next four years.

The new collective bargaining agreement, the first since 2005, will cut payments for elite international matches to A$10,000 from A$13,100, the Australian Rugby Union said today. For the first time, the accord includes a salary cap for the country’s Super Rugby teams.

“This deal is arguably the most significant of its kind since rugby turned professional in 1995,” ARU Chief Executive Officer Bill Pulver said in an e-mailed statement. “The players have acted with integrity and maturity throughout the negotiations and their support for the game warrants acknowledgment by the Australian rugby community.”

The agreement comes as the Wallabies slipped to No. 4 in the International Rugby Board’s world rankings -- their lowest position since 2010 -- and the Sydney-based ARU seeks to trim costs after two years of losses totaling about A$20 million.

While Test-match payments will drop, minimum salaries for Super Rugby core squad members will increase by about 15 percent over the four years to $75,000 in 2017, the ARU said. The salary cap will be A$5 million per season for each of Australia’s five teams in the southern hemisphere’s elite provincial competition.

Australian players will also get reduced allowances while on national team duty, the ARU said.

“The players have made significant concessions in this deal to ensure that rugby will be a stronger game for those who follow in their footsteps,” said Greg Harris, CEO of the Rugby Union Players’ Association, which helped formulate the accord.

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