England players set for large pay hike


The Rugby Football Union and the nation's leading players have agreed a four-year deal that could make England's squad the highest-paid in world rugby.

The arrangement covers England's senior, Saxons and Under-20 squads until 30 June 2016, and includes confirmation of squad and match fees and performance bonuses.

The RFU's chief executive, Ian Ritchie, insisted the figures involved remain confidential. But it is believed that a layered structure involving bonus payments for Tests and titles won, and incorporating details concerning the 2015 World Cup, mean a member of the Elite Player Squad could earn up to £120,000 a year playing for England, separate from their club contracts.

The EPS deal for 2012 was broken down as follows: players received £9,224 if selected for the 23-man match squad. They also received a win bonus of £3,075, and the squad would have shared £500,000 had they won a Six Nations Grand Slam.

The RFU said that together with an existing Heads of Agreement between the RFU and Premiership Rugby, it ensured "a stable future for club and country" beyond the next World Cup, which England host.

The deal is a further boost for the England head coach, Stuart Lancaster, who is preparing for the Six Nations on the back of a record 38-21 victory over the world champions, New Zealand, last month.

"This agreement is another major step forward for the RFU, players and the clubs," Ritchie said at Twickenham today. "I would like to thank the Rugby Players' Association and Premiership Rugby for their co-operation and for reinforcing the partnership we enjoy.

"One of the strengths of the English game is that we have enshrined in contract the release of players from their clubs, which gives Stuart Lancaster and his coaches confidence in their availability," he added.

"Now this new agreement with the players has been reached, we have stability and everyone pulling in the right direction through to the Rugby World Cup and beyond."

The news was also welcomed by the RPA chief executive, former England centre Damian Hopley. "All parties wanted to ensure that we built on the foundations and progress made by Stuart Lancaster and the squad during the past 12 months," he said.

"The new contract duly recognises the efforts made by all 33 of the senior EPS, as well as the increasing overall value of the players to the RFU and their partners. We look forward to working collaboratively with the England squad and the RFU to deliver these rights, and I would like to thank the England Players' Committee for their invaluable and professional input throughout these good-natured negotiations."

Premiership Rugby's chief executive, Mark McCafferty, said: "We are delighted to be playing our part in giving Stuart Lancaster and the England team everything they need on the road to 2015.

"We look forward to the continued support of the players and the RFU to ensure Aviva Premiership rugby goes from strength to strength."

Clearly, the healthy atmosphere between the RFU and elite players contrasts sharply to the somewhat rancorous state of affairs leading up to the ultimately underwhelming World Cup performance in New Zealand in 2011.

Lancaster's open and embracing attitude towards all concerned, a firm but fair hand on the tiller, has helped hugely to bring about a far happier and relaxed environment without losing an iota of professional edge as they prepare for the Six Nations.

And Ritchie's attitude mirrors that. "The most important aspect of all this from the RFU standpoint is that the players receive a decent, fair and well-deserved recompense," he said. "They are valued hugely by the RFU, and we want them to know that."

Corbisiero signs up with Saints

Northampton have confirmed the signing of the England prop Alex Corbisiero.

Corbisiero, 24, who has won 18 Test caps, will move to Franklin's Gardens from London Irish at the end of this season.

The London Irish rugby director, Brian Smith, said: "We are sad to see Alex go. We made him a very attractive offer to stay earlier this season but, unfortunately, Alex feels his future is elsewhere."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower