Huge Developments In New Zealand Rugby Which Could Spell An End To Player Exodus
The New Zealand Rugby Union has agreed a new deal with its Players’ Association which will see an additional NZ$70m (£39.9m) allocated to its player payment pool over the next three years.
The deal means the NZRU has increased financial muscle to keep its best talent in New Zealand and reports suggest it could see top All Blacks for the first time earning in excess of NZ$1m a year on salary alone.
The increase in funds, the pool is up from NZ$121m (£69m) to $NZ191m (£109m), is partly down to the revenue set to be generated by the British & Irish Lions’ tour of New Zealand next summer.
“We’re delighted to have concluded this important piece of work,” NZRU CEO Steve Tew said. “We believe that our partnership with players continues to be a critical factor in the success of New Zealand Rugby at all levels of the game.
“And we recognise that that close relationship is part of our competitive advantage.
“In a highly competitive global market, we can’t compete purely on money. For us, the difference has to be in the environment we offer and the strength of our support for players to have the lifestyle they want.
“This new deal further enhances that while the overall increased and expanded investment across a number of areas, means that our packages are increasingly competitive.
“This agreement has been developed on the back of some very hard work. I personally want to thank the players, our provincial union partners and the collective negotiation team for their work and commitment to ensuring rugby can continue to inspire and unify New Zealand communities.”
All Blacks stars Ben Smith, Israel Dagg and Aaron Cruden all have contracts with the NZRU which expire in 2017. They are attracting plenty of attention from Europe but the increase in funds could tempt them to stay in New Zealand.