RFU wary of post-Cup exodus

  • Last Updated: April 14 2014, 22:50 BST

The Rugby Football Union are keen to improve the financial benefits for England's top players following next year's World Cup.

England players train at Twickenham
England players train at Twickenham

Chief executive Ian Ritchie accepts that English clubs are behind their French counterparts with regards to wages and wants the RFU to put a strategy in place to prevent more players from heading abroad.

Currently, the RFU policy is to only select those playing for English clubs for the England national team - unless there are exceptional circumstances.

English Premiership teams are restricted by a salary cap but with the financial rewards in French club rugby at an unprecedented high - due to increased revenue from a new TV rights deal - it is feared there may be an exodus of talent following the 2015 World Cup.

Ritchie believes playing for a Premiership club and England should be financially competitive, if not superior, to the prize for competing elsewhere.

He said: "We should not be behind in making it economically right for people to continue to play in this country.

"I don't like a scenario where someone says 'I can get 'blank' when I go overseas'. We should be able to match all of that over here.

"We should be absolutely at the top of the pile here. We should help to try and achieve that and we should be unashamed of that."

Premiership clubs operate under a salary cap which increases to £5m next season, while England players can earn a match fee of £15k.

The current agreement between the RFU and Premiership Rugby over player release is due to expire in June 2016.

Ritchie added: "The Premiership salary cap is not a matter for me but what we have to do is make that as attractive as possible."

It is hoped that profits made from staging the World Cup on home soil can be factored in to agreeing on a new salary cap when a new deal is thrashed out in a couple of years.

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