Gloucester's professional plans

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The Independent Online
Richard Hill, Gloucester's coaching director, has drawn up plans to spend pounds 650,000 a year paying players and coaches at the club from next season.

The ex-Bath and England scrum-half plans to have a squad of 50 contracted players supported by an elaborate framework of coaches, talent scouts, a psychologist and a fitness expert.

Twenty-five players will be on fixed-term contracts for a minimum of two years while the rest will have renewable contracts of between three and six months.

Hill has presented his budget to club chiefs, who now have to find ways of financing full professionalism at Kingsholm from September.

They are hoping that player wages and their ambitious scheme for an 18,000 all-seater stadium costing pounds 15m will be financed by TV revenue, sponsorship - and a casino they want to house in a new grandstand.

They also plan to make Gloucester RFC a limited company, a proposal they will put to an extraordinary general meeting in May.

Mike Teague, a former Kingsholm hero, is to continue as team manager and Hill as director of coaching. Hill will also take on the role of backs coach and will appoint a high profile ex-player to look after the forwards.

Leading South African players have signed contracts with the South African Rugby Football Union worth 2.5 million rand (pounds 425,000) each over three years according to a South African newspaper. Christo Ferreira, a SARFU spokesman, called the report "speculation".

The newspaper said the contracts provided for players to receive full pay for six months if they were injured and that most members of last year's victorious World Cup squad had signed.

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