Rugby Australia has today confirmed there will be a transition plan in place to cope with required total salary cap and player number increases for the 2018 Super Rugby season to provide greater opportunity for former Western Force players to remain in Australian Rugby.
The current player contracting rules provide that Australian Super Rugby teams are subject to a $5 million salary cap across their 30-man core playing squad rosters excluding top-up funding for Wallabies players.
Rugby Australia General Manager High Performance, Ben Whitaker said: “Collectively across Rugby Australia, RUPA and the four Super Rugby teams we are developing a transition plan for 2018 to assist us to keep our best talent in Australian Rugby.
“Unfortunately there isn’t a perfect solution that provides a completely equitable outcome for every team in terms of talent access, but we believe this short-term measure will enable us to keep a number of talented players in Australian Rugby who might not otherwise have stayed in the country, plus ensure financial viability of the Super Rugby system,” Whitaker said.
As part of the transition from five to four Super Rugby teams, Rugby Australia is also monitoring player movements to consider the composition of Super Rugby playing squads for 2018.
“Currently our Super Rugby teams can carry core playing squads of 30 players and it is likely that we’ll need to review that number as the teams finalise their squads for 2018,” said Whitaker.
“We are not expecting any team to have a significant increase in squad size or player spend, but we’ll continue to monitor the situation closely with each team before making a final assessment on squad sizes for next season. At this stage several players are still to decide on their destination for 2018.
“Ultimately,what we hope to achieve is to retain our best players in Australia, support the transition of former Western Force players, and give each team the opportunity to develop their squads and achieve winning outcomes next season. We are confident that the transition plan will enable us to seamlessly return to an agreed set of contracting conditions for 2019 and beyond.”