Rugby Union: Wallabies poised to cash in

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The Independent Online
LEADING Australian players are expected to earn at least Ausdollars 30,000 ( pounds 14,000) each this year from sponsorship, promotion, televison rights and a gala dinner according to the Australian Rugby Union. 'It doesn't contravene International Rugby Board rules because it is not associated with the playing of the game,' an ARU spokesman said in Sydney yesterday.

The Wallabies have cashed in on their 1991 World Cup success by forming a company, Wallaby Promotions and Marketing, which channels profits back to the players.

Last year, the union ploughed back 10 per cent of its Adollars 1.56m revenue to the Wallaby squad and this year it is expected to contribute more.

A big source of income in a year which sees Australia host a Test series against South Africa will be a gala dinner in July which could raise dollars 500,000 for the players' company.

Despite lucrative offers, none of the players who brought home the World Cup after beating England at Twickenham has switched to rugby league.

Though players are not allowed to be paid for playing, they can receive money for speaking at dinners, writing, broadcasting, advertising and endorsing products, provided these are acceptable to their individual union.