RFU agrees new deal with England players

The Rugby Football Union is confident there will be no pay revolts before the 2015 Rugby World Cup after agreeing a new four-year deal with the England players.

The England squad disputed their pay levels in the build-up to the 2011 World Cup and that row led to some players threatening to boycott the official send-off dinner. But RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie said the starting point for negotiations over a new and improved pay structure was to ensure that situation never happened again.

The new deal struck between the RFU and the Rugby Players' Association runs until 2016 and it contains increased payments for squad selection, match fees, bonuses and commercial arrangements. There are also special provisions for the World Cup, and Ritchie said: "To get this level of certainty up to and including the World Cup is a good thing."

He added: "The last thing we wanted was to wait years to sort this out and have last minute discussions.

"Clearly the players want to be satisfied there is a reasonable arrangement in place for the Rugby World Cup in 2015. There was a determination on both sides that we would do this positively. We have done the finances and now we can purely concentrate on the rugby."

When Lewis Moody led the negotiations with the RFU in 2011, there was a feeling among the England squad that it was a case of "us versus them".

Moody met Ritchie to discuss what went on and he was encouraged by the change in attitude the former Wimbledon tennis chief executive has brought to Twickenham.

"There was a divide between the RFU and the England team. The two were apart from each other," Moody told Press Association Sport.

"Ian is very much into the fact that we are one organisation - the RFU, the players - and that everyone should be pulling for the same objectives.

"It seems to be working incredibly well."

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