Australian Super Rugby players to receive about 10% pay rise

GETTY IMAGES 
 
   Ellia Green and her Australian team mates get a boost with the new collective agreement

In December, Raelene Castle became the game's first female chief executive and now Australia's men and women's rugby sevens teams will start on the same pay.

For the first time, the CBA includes players from the Wallabies, the Wallaroos, all Super Rugby teams and both Australian Sevens teams.

Under the new CBA, players will continue to earn a 29 per cent share of the professional game's total revenue under a continuing revenue sharing model.

The Australian women's 15-a-side rugby team, the Wallaroos, will also receive payments for test matches, or worldwide matches, for the first time as compensation for taking time out from their day jobs and family responsibilities.

Teams will be permitted to sign between 36 and 40 players under the new agreement, but even then, the number of professional players with one less team will shrink from 175 to 160, meaning a net loss of 15 players.

RUPA President Dean Mumm said that the execution of the CBA was critical in order to allow for players to focus on Rugby in 2018.

Super Rugby players will also benefit from extra annual leave, while the agreement guarantees an NRC presence in Western Australia until the end of the broadcast deal.

The agreement is expected to be announced by outgoing Rugby Australia boss Bill Pulver and Rugby Union Players' Association counterpart Ross Xenos at midday on Wednesday (NZT). The argument that men's sports typically bring in more revenue than women's sports is used to justify the pay gap, but a New York Times investigation (paywall) in 2016 found that women's soccer in the USA earned more money than men's in 2015.

"Player well-being is no longer being spoken about as a priority but rather being delivered upon as a key outcome of this agreement".

"This CBA ensures that every player's core conditions of employment continue to improve with every new season, whilst prioritising performance and wellbeing through a range of initiatives which are created to ensure that players are given every opportunity to thrive on and off the field", Xenos said.

Australia are the reigning Olympic women's sevens champions after winning the inaugural tournament in Rio a year ago. For example, the All Blacks play as professionals and fly business class, while women play in addition to having day jobs and fly economy.

Top-level salaries will still be disparate between men's XVs and others, but the move is a significant improvement for the women's game.

"We're in such a different sport to most female athletes in terms of the physicality of the game, but to make sure you're not prevented from wanting to have children and a family is vital".

"We're really trying to entice as many women as possible to come and give our game a go", she added.

The next leg of the Women's Rugby Sevens World Series takes place at Sydney's Allianz Stadium from January 26-28.

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