England players to earn £70,000 for autumn clean sweep – but Tonga squad paid just £500 per game

, England players to earn £70,000 for autumn clean sweep – but Tonga squad paid just £500 per game, The Evepost BBC News
, England players to earn £70,000 for autumn clean sweep – but Tonga squad paid just £500 per game, The Evepost BBC News

England’s players stand to make around £70,000 if they complete an autumn clean sweep under a revised pay deal with the Rugby Football Union. Meanwhile, Saturday’s opponents, Tonga, will receive just £500 for playing at Twickenham this week. 

As a cost-cutting measure during the pandemic, the RFU instigated a reduction in match fees for squad members from £23,500 to £17,500. Even then England remained the best paid team in world rugby. 

Now the Rugby Players’ Association has struck a new agreement with the RFU which will include a variable payment scheme linked to England’s success on and off the pitch. 

Should England beat Tonga, Australia and world champions South Africa this autumn then Eddie Jones’ squad members will receive around £23,000 per victory. A further bonus payment will be delivered if the RFU’s commercial department exceeds its projected forecasts. 

While England’s players’ base rate is now lower than it was before the pandemic, they stand to benefit in the long run from the revenue-share agreement, which also offers the RFU a degree of protection from Covid-19 related uncertainty. England’s players have also agreed to continue to share their payments with the non-playing members of the matchday squad. 

, England players to earn £70,000 for autumn clean sweep – but Tonga squad paid just £500 per game, The Evepost BBC News

Tonga’s squad, meanwhile, will make just two per cent of their England counterparts’ pay as they head to Twickenham off the back of a 60-14 defeat against Scotland at Murrayfield

Yet Peter Harding, the Tongan chief executive, has no complaints about the disparity in payments, particularly as the RFU rearranged the fixture after it was postponed 12 months ago. “That’s just the system we work with,” Harding said. “We are not being treated any differently to Australia or South Africa. 

“It was really good of the RFU to keep this match on the fixture list because it was meant to be last year and it got called off. This gives everyone in the team the chance to play above themselves, which they are incredibly excited about. We want to see the players go out and represent their country as best they can.” 

The RFU will make an unspecified “goodwill gesture” towards the Tongan Rugby Union and have also announced a development partnership which will see both unions swapping coaches and support staff. “What we will be able to get is access to expertise to help and assist local staff population and have a really good exchange of ideas,” Harding said. 

“What they will get is a tour where they will learn how to be more agile and because they won’t have the resources they usually have at their fingertips.”