Rugby Union: Evans' professional call: Cardiff coaching organiser joins money debate

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The Independent Online
ALEX EVANS, the coaching organiser of the Heineken First Division club, Cardiff, believes players in rugby union should be paid and the game should go professional.

'It would not kill the game as has been suggested, but clubs in Wales would struggle to pay the tax bill and would have to look at trust funds,' he said.

Evans's comments follows the furore over Inland Revenue investigations into club rugby and claims by the former Wales international, Scott Gibbs, that payments to players in Welsh rugby are commonplace.

'These guys deserve everything they can get. The public wants to see sportsmen at their best and I don't think they would begrudge players being paid if it meant they could be at their best,' he said.

Evans is waiting to formalise the transfer to Cardiff of the Wales back-rower, Emyr Lewis.

'There are one or two matters which have to be cleared up first,' said Lewis, a Carmarthen-based policeman who was released by Llanelli a month ago after seven years at Stradey Park.

The Rugby League is giving its full support to the players threatened with expulsion by the Scottish Rugby Union after taking part in a promotional game in Edinburgh last Sunday.

The SRU secretary warned players that they would be banned if they played alongside the former Great Britain international prop, Hugh Waddell, and his Carlisle rugby league colleagues, George Graham and Colin Paxton.

The three players offered to stand down, but their team-mates decided to take the field with them. In the eyes of the SRU, the other players thus professionalised themselves in the match, in which Scotland beat the North- east 54-14.

The Rugby League's public affairs executive, Harry Gration, said: 'We deplore the heavy-handed attitude of the SRU in this matter. It seems the rugby union authorities will do anything to stop the spread of rugby league, even at this ostensibly amateur level.

'We offer our full support to the players who appeared in this historic fixture, as we would to any player who wished to exercise his basic democratic right to play more than one sport.'