Rugby Australia’s emergency pay deal was held up due to players’ demands to chase short-term overseas contracts next year.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, RA and the Vodacom Super Rugby franchises on Friday reluctantly agreed to a salary payment deal with the Rugby Union Players’ Association after talks were delayed amid fears of losing the country’s top players to overseas deals.
RUPA had pushed for a handful of the country’s highest-paid players to be given the opportunity to take six-month contracts overseas, as early as next year. These sabbatical provisions generated considerable anxiety amongst the Super Rugby teams and RA.
The caveat would be that the contracts would not be able to clash with international windows, meaning the Japanese Top League or a portion of the UK’s Premiership would be the only available options to players who want to head abroad.
The provision would be granted to fewer than six players, on a basis of salary plus years of service, with a potential list including Michael Hooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua and Dane Haylett-Petty, all of whom stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars under the proposed pay deal.
High-earning but younger stars such as Taniela Tupou, Allan Ala’alatoa, Jordan Petaia and Isi Naisarani would not be eligible.
The agreed upon salary deal between RA and RUPA is expected to be announced on Monday.
Photo: Chris Kotze/BackpagePix