Wallabies eye $3m RWC bonus
Sydney - The Wallabies squad is expected to earn more than A$3 million in bonus payments if they win this year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
According to Rugby Heaven columnist, Greg Growden, the incentive payments will be determined as part of collective bargaining agreement negotiations about to start between the Australian Rugby Union and the Australian Rugby Union Players' Association.
It is understood the ARU is interested in a formula whereby each player in the 30-man squad will receive an extra $100 000 if the Wallabies win the tournament in October. This is similar to what was on offer at the 2007 World Cup, when the Wallabies crashed out against England in the quarter-finals.
The World Cup bonus system began in 1999, when the Wallabies received an extra $30 000 per player for winning their second Webb Ellis trophy.
Wallabies players also have to sign a World Cup participation agreement by July 1. In the past, such agreements led to major conflict between the ARU and players, particularly over the use of player images.
With the Wallabies based in Christchurch for several weeks during the World Cup pool stage, ARU officials are awaiting information from their New Zealand counterparts after reports the devastated city might be unable to host matches.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who visited Christchurch this week, said the turf at AMI Stadium was ''a mess'', and it was not clear whether it could be repaired before the tournament. ''There are mounds and humps and hollows everywhere on the thing - it's a complete and utter mess,'' Key said. ''It's clearly in a very bad state of repair. Whether it can be fixed and whether the Rugby World Cup can be held there - we have to make that decision soon.''
Since the Christchurch earthquake last month, World Cup organisers have repeatedly told the ARU all pool and finals matches would remain in New Zealand. An ARU spokesperson last night said any World Cup decision was ''not for the ARU, but for the International Rugby Board in consultation with the New Zealand Rugby Union, the Rugby World Cup Organising Committee, the New Zealand Government and the relevant authorities in Christchurch''.
''We will support and assist them in any way they feel necessary, with the Wallabies obviously one of several teams scheduled to be based or playing in Christchurch during the tournament,'' the ARU spokesperson said. ''At this stage, we are awaiting updates.''