Italy players end strike over Rugby World Cup bonuses
Published 20/06/2015 | 17:16
Italy's rugby bosses have brokered a deal to end the players' strike and set their World Cup preparations back on track.
Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) chiefs agreed new terms with the 40-strong training squad, who will now start their pre-World Cup on Monday, a week later than scheduled.
Italy's squad refused to train on Monday, frustrated with terms for bonuses in the upcoming World Cup in England.
The FIR released a statement on Saturday confirming a new deal had been reached, however, to ensure new payment levels for players training now, even if they do not make the final World Cup cut.
"Following the meetings of recent days it has been agreed with the players of the national team to ensure the resumption of training in preparation for Rugby World Cup 2015," read an FIR statement.
"A number of requests made by the players' agents were considered, and the agreement provides, in particular, financial rewards for all the players called to the pre-season gathering."
Italy coach Jacques Brunel, stuck in the middle of the dispute, will now hope his players are ready to get down to work.
The Italians will face Ireland, France, Romania and Canada in Pool D at this year's World Cup, hosted by England.
Italy's initial 40-man training squad were set to reconvene on Sunday night, before resuming camp activities on Monday.
The FIR president Alfredo Gavazzi admitted "I'm disappointed by the attitude taken by the athletes" when reacting to the start of the strike.
Italy's bosses ended their statement announcing the new agreement with a terse command aimed at leaving their players in no doubt about what must happen next.
"Now the world goes to the field: all players have the full support of the entire movement to play a great Rugby World Cup and rediscover the serenity necessary for the growth of our sport."