Rugby Australia, players union agree to interim Super Rugby pay deal

Rugby Australia (RA) has struck an interim pay deal with the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) that will see players looked after until the end of the Super Rugby AU season.

The deal will ensure players are compensated 70 percent of their agreed and contracted pay, match payments and bonuses through Sept. 30, but a new deal will need to be reached ahead of any Test program after that date.

The pay deal covers all Super Rugby AU teams except the Western Force, which is privately owned.

In a statement released on Wednesday evening, RA CEO Rob Clarke thanked the players for their cooperation in proceedings

"Australians all around the country are currently facing an incredibly difficult economic environment and Rugby is certainly no different," he said.

"The professional players have acknowledged the important role they play in ensuring the future health of Rugby in Australia and I thank them for their cooperation throughout this negotiation, to ensure the competition starts this coming Friday night.

"Vodafone Super Rugby AU is just days away from kick-off and now is the time to celebrate the fantastic athletes we have here in this country. The competition will be fast and free-flowing and I know how keen the players are to put on a show.

"We've already seen the return of the grassroots game in the Northern Territory and South Australia over the last weekend and we're working very hard to ensure the community game returns in every State and Territory in the coming weeks and look forward to supporting the Member Unions in facilitating that."

The reported threat of strike action, which would have delayed the start of Super Rugby AU, was never tabled during discussions with RUPA, a Rugby Australia spokesperson said.