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IRFU player pay cut talks to continue after fourth meeting

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IRFU chief executive Philip Browne. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Discussions between the IRFU and Rugby Players Ireland (RPI) over potential pay cuts are ongoing following a fourth round of talks yesterday.

As has been the case in each of the previous meetings, an agreement has not yet been reached, meaning the tense negotiations will continue.

RPI are bidding to protect its members from a potential 20 per cent reduction in salary, which would have major ramifications, particularly for its lower earners.

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne and his RPI counterpart Simon Keogh are leading the talks, which have still not been resolved despite the fact that all four provinces are now back in training.

RPI have been granted access to the union's financial position, and have enlisted the help of experts from BDO, who have been carefully going through the books before advising on how best to proceed further.

Uncertainty still hangs over Irish rugby as it moves towards a restart on the weekend of August 22.

The Leinster squad will be given a two-week break once they conclude training this week, before they return to their UCD base on July 27 to ramp up their preparations. 

The province's assistant coach Felipe Contepomi has warned against expanding the PRO14 for the wrong reasons.

Speculation is mounting that South African sides The Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers could replace The Cheetahs and the hapless Southern Kings in a revamped PRO16.

Although Contepomi acknowledged that he hadn't yet given the potential new format much thought, he is adamant that any changes must be made with rugby's best interests at heart.

Balance

"If it adds value, if it brings a better level of competition, it's good," Contepomi said.

"There's a balance you need to find, where business and sport quality comes together.

"If it is only a business decision and only for money but in detriment of rugby - I don't think it's a good idea, but if it brings some rugby and business opportunities I think it's a great idea.

"It's very important to have that balance of not going straight into detriment of the game because at the end of the day, the end product is how good the rugby is, and if you have a good product, then it is much easier to sell it."

Irish Independent