Rugby Union

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The Independent Online
The Barbarians are to make their first visit to Japan this June to play two matches to raise money for victims of the Kobe earthquake appeal.

The Irish Rugby Football Union plan to issue contracts to a 40-player panel in an effort to prevent the likely defection of talent to Britain. Details have yet to be finalised but players could expect to receive around pounds 30,000 a season. With international match fees and bonus payments, that could rise to pounds 40,000.