The new Collective Bargaining Agreement. - Green and Gold Rugby
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The new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

What’s to know?

Today Rugby Australia, RUPA and the Super Rugby teams announced their new collective bargaining agreement. The CBA starts immediately and runs until 2020 when the current Broadcast deal ends. For the first time, the CBA includes players from the Wallabies, the Wallaroos, all Super Rugby teams and both Australian Sevens teams. Players will continue to receive 29 % of revenue generated.

For the first time Super Rugby players and Sevens players, male and female will have the same pay with the minimum full-time salaries the same for all players across the board. Rugby Sevens players will continue to be eligible to receive dAIS funding via the Australian Sports Commission in addition to their minimum RA contracts, while professional female players will also now be protected by an industry leading Pregnancy Policy to provide support and security over their employment. Wallaroo’s players will receive test match payments for the first time.

All four Super Rugby teams will contract a minimum of 36 players up to a maximum of 40 and the salary cap increased to 5.5 million dollars. Hear the Melbourne Rebels? 40! There is also a 15% discount for long-serving players.

Western Australia will continue to play in the National Rugby Championship for the length of the agreement.

My thoughts

It all sounds great, right? More money, more players, an even playing field. But I feel a little sad when I think what was done to achieve it.

And then there is this paragraph in the press release.

The agreement positions Rugby to begin 2018 on a positive note and provides clarity for all professional Rugby stakeholders for the future. It also allows the game’s new leaders and administrators to begin their rejuvenation of the professional game from a stable and united platform, and provides security for the players as the game embarks upon this new era.

I cringed!

Finally, good luck to all the professional rugby players looking to earn a living in Australia. I look forward to finding out who all the new Leader and administrators are. So far I see a lot of the people who lead Australian Rugby to where it is still in the jobs.

  • P00chie

    Can they collectively bargain the Australian public out of its inferiority complex which makes them believe that we need Super Rugby?

    That aside this is a positive development. Best of luck to them. I didn’t find the paragraph highlighted to be cringeworthy.

    • Pearcewreck

      I agree with you, P00chie, we would be better off out of Super Rugby.

      • paul

        Agreed Super rugby has to go, the problem is who pays for it.

        The top down nature of the code here means no one is prepared to make the necessary sacrifices for it to happen.

        • Bakkies

          Twiggy is already on the case with Jack Ma and Asian Governments tendering for Asian IPRC sides. He has the Aus Federal Government on side as they can see the business benefits to it.

          Twiggy is also looking at different broadcast deals rather than just Foxsports.

          Yet the RA prefer to stall it and sign off on dodgy deals to prop up the unsustainable Rebels.

      • Tommy Brady

        What competition would you propose in it’s place Pearcewreck that would:

        a/ retain Australia’s leading players
        b/ generate sufficient TV revenue to help fund rugby in Australia.
        c/ provide a meaningful stage to compete against AFL and NRL
        d/ ensure Wallaby players will be sufficiently prepared for Bledisloe Cup games and other test matches.
        e/ would not cannabalise the existing NRC

        • P00chie

          a) Whatever competition becomes our top level
          b) A domestic competition complimented by a continental competition would at bare minimum attract the same interest as a starting point
          c) see a. The only certainty is that the answer is not Super Rugby
          d) See A
          e) The NRC would be unlikely to survive if we went all in with a domestic comp, unless we did something with our neighbours,

        • Tommy Brady

          All makes interesting reading P00chie. But how certain are you that a proposed “top level” domestic competition would be sufficiently appealing to retain Israel Folau, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Michael Hooper and Adam Coleman in Australia? They are the faces of rugby in Australia – the players fans pay money to go watch. All don’t lack for lucrative playing contract offers overseas. All would weigh money and competitive competitions into any decision to stay or go. Seriously fancy attending matches or tuning into games without these marquee players?

          How certain are you that teams from outside Australia would want to pony up and be associated with your proposed domestic competition? (Oh and don’t include Pacific Islands countries who all collectively have zero money). RA don’t have the funds to bankroll a lucrative competition and needed sponsorship would be a challenge to secure.

          Following a diet of regular contests against good Kiwi and SA Super Rugby teams in recent years, Wallaby sides have consistently been uncompetitive against ranked international sides. See that changing going forward if the lead up to such contests was just against ineffective Australian only sides?

          Stadium crowds to NRC games are consistently poor. How will that improve for another domestic focused competition played earlier in the season?

          Expect TV viewing audiences outside Australia to be sufficiently strong that international TV packages could be sold at attractive rates to benefit Fox Sports and RA?

          Think such a domestic only rugby competition could pull marginal sports fans in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth away from the high profile AFL and NRL games in the peak viewing slots?

        • P00chie

          I cannot see the future, Tommy.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate, I really don’t understand the reason why people want Super Rugby to go. This is the only competition that brings in the revenue needed to keep players in Australia. While I agree 100% that the last couple of years have been a disaster with a completely f*cked draw, no Free-To-Air viewing and a set up that has been confusing and has turned fans off. But without Super rugby there would not be the revenue to pay the top players like Genia, Hooper, Folau etc. enough to keep them in Australia. There is no way a local competition would do this and there is also no way there will ever be a Trans-Tasman competition that will meet the figures needed. So if you dump Super Rugby, where does the money come from and what is the path for players? It’s certainly not the NPC.

      • Xaviera

        KRL – you’re quite correct – we need Super rugby, as it’s the cash cow of the game. We have a broadcast agreement until 2020, so that gives us collectively a couple of years to look at options, crunch the numbers, and come up with something better. Until then, we shouldn’t be biting the hand that feeds us.

        • P00chie

          There is no suggestion from anyone of abandoning Super Rugby before 2020. The debate is beyond 2020.

      • Xaviera

        KRL – you’re quite correct – we need Super rugby, as it’s the cash cow of the game. We have a broadcast agreement until 2020, so that gives us collectively a couple of years to look at options, crunch the numbers, and come up with something better. Until then, we shouldn’t be biting the hand that feeds us.

      • P00chie

        “This is the only competition that brings in the revenue needed to keep players in Australia.”

        Repeal and replace mate.

        The idea that Australia can’t sustain a professional rugby environment is flabbergasting. of course it can. Smaller countries in significantly more competitive landscapes can.

        Super Rugby never made any sense, never will, and being held to ransom by TV money from a 2nd world nation isn’t a sustainable business model if short-term financial considerations are all that factors in.

        • Patrick

          Um which smaller countries, exactly? NZ, and…..?

        • P00chie

          I’m sure you can figure that our considering that you follow rugby.

      • Bakkies

        Are you sure it brings in revenue? It costs more due to overheads than the revenue it brings in. The commercial deals thanks to honest John are a mess.

        The 4 Nations is the money maker.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate the 4 nations won’t pay the salary for 4 Super teams here in Australia. Despite the dreams of some, nor will a local competition, not unless there are dramatic changes that I don’t see everyone happening.

        • Bakkies

          SARU and the RA have said Super Rugby is not sustainable.

          SARU in their comments when they cut two sides that they could no longer afford the travel budget and the other running costs. To their credit they have looked after those teams by finding alternate competitions for them to play in. We saw how tough it was for the Lions who have a schedule like the Force do this year and had to find new players.

          I have seen comments from people saying that the Pro 14 is not working for the SA sides based on the crowds that is nonsense. It a bedding in season. They are forgetting these teams were kicked out and the Kings had officials arrested for fraud. The Kings have had to loan players as their union is still run by the national governing body.

          In the next few months they are taking games out in to the regions which SA teams haven’t done for a long time.

          The travel is paid by Super Sport so it is not costing the teams and SARU.

          The goal eventually is eventually to get in to the Not the Heineken Cup Sponsored by Heineken.

  • andrewM

    I baulked when I read the line regarding the Spirit to remain in the NRC. Was this seriously even an issue? Are the ARU that stupid that they would have even considered removing the Spirit?

    I have seen some people on The Roar suggesting that the increase in squad sizes and salaries to the remaining Super team pretty much wipes out the savings from removing the Force. Some quick mental maths suggests it is pretty close to the mark.

    Not sure if I follow the need for larger squad sizes – just for injury cover? Surely more players not getting game time will increase the exodus, regardless of the money? Surely this makes a mockery of the other argument for removing the Force – not enough depth?

    • Muzz

      “Are the ARU that stupid that they would have even considered removing the Spirit?”
      The answer to this question is clearly yes. So it’s nice that they haven’t actually followed through

      • Bakkies

        Yes they are stupid and it took pressure to keep the side.

  • Pearcewreck

    Thanks for that Sully.
    Lets hope the next few years are better than than the last couple.

    Thank goodness for the rise in the women’s game, otherwise we’d be really stuffed now. Increased player numbers, increased interest in the game, and it gives positive media coverage.

  • Muzz

    Sully pardon my ignorance but what was done to achieve the CBA that you’re unhappy about?

    • Brumby Runner

      Not speaking for Sully, but it strikes me that the ARU saved about $30m by axing the Force but has committed to more thn $31m to fund the increased cap and larger squads for the remaining teams. That irks me, I have to say.

  • ForceFan

    I too am prepared to begin 2018 on a positive note.

    I’m eagerly awaiting RA’s new announcement regarding it’s support of rugby in WA as I genuinely believe the assurance that was provided in RA’s 11 August announcement re discontinuing the Western Force:

    “Western Australia will retain an important place in Australian Rugby and the ARU will continue to support youth development programs and the community game in the West. There will be a clear pathway for young Western Australian Rugby players to reach the highest level and represent
    the Wallabies.”

    Unfortunately, in the 5 months since that announcement the only “clear pathway” appears to be via the Great Eastern Highway or the departure lounge at Perth Airport.

    But I live in hope…….

    • P00chie

      “There will be a clear pathway for young Western Australian Rugby players to reach the highest level and represent
      the Wallabies.”

      Yes, 4000 kilometres away!

  • P00chie

    “There will be a clear pathway for young Western Australian Rugby players to reach the highest level and represent
    the Wallabies.”

    Yes, 4000 kilometres away.

  • Nigel Beavis

    God save the Queen, but nothing will save the ARU/AR.

  • Ruggaman

    I know this is not popular but ditch women’s rugby and use the money to fund the men’s game. Focus only on Women’s 7’s a side and only contract 4-7 of your best players that can take Aus to gold. Dont crucify me but who follows women’s rugby except the 7’s game in tournaments? Not many :)

    • Patrick

      Mate I appreciate the sentiment but that’s a suicide note for Aus rugby.

  • Xaviera

    I’d prefer to take this at face value, combined with an optimistic view. CBAs can be messy (anyone care to call James Sutherland and have a chat?), yet this has been done without the need for public debate, the players are happy, the administrators are happy, plus we’ve raised the bar in a number of areas (e.g. pregnancy, pay parity), all of which we should applaud. Sure, it’s been a torrid 12-18 months, but that doesn’t mean we should let that colour what is an excellent outcome. To be fair, it’s a Pulver legacy that is a positive one.

    It also means the new CEO comes in with a structure in place and can focus on other areas which need work, and we all know, there’s a long list of those. We need to provide some support for her – it’s a tough gig, and it will take time.

    • Bakkies

      Need to get rid of de Clyne first so she doesn’t have that bell end looking over her shoulder.

      It is also to be proven whether the RA can finance the CBA.

  • Xaviera

    I’d prefer to take this at face value, combined with an optimistic view. CBAs can be messy (anyone care to call James Sutherland and have a chat?), yet this has been done without the need for public debate, the players are happy, the administrators are happy, plus we’ve raised the bar in a number of areas (e.g. pregnancy, pay parity), all of which we should applaud. Sure, it’s been a torrid 12-18 months, but that doesn’t mean we should let that colour what is an excellent outcome. To be fair, it’s a Pulver legacy that is a positive one.

    It also means the new CEO comes in with a structure in place and can focus on other areas which need work, and we all know, there’s a long list of those. We need to provide some support for her – it’s a tough gig, and it will take time.

  • Bakkies

    Bumchin Bill (more accurately known as Bull) is dreamy.

ACT Brumbies
@Only1Sully

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to http://www.onesully.com.au

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