The planned return of rugby in Australia next week could be delayed, with reports that players are on the verge of strike-action over their pay cuts.
The Daily Telegraph report that Rugby Australia's latest wage-cut proposal has been rejected by the players, who are now considering boycotting the Super Rugby AU championship, which kicks off on July 3rd.
It's believed Rugby Australia have asked players to accept a 40 percent pay cut beginning in October and running until the end of 2020. Almost 200 professional players in Australia have also been operating under a 60 percent pay cut since April.
It's reported that players are willing to strike unless Rugby Australia can lower the second pay cut to between 20 and 30 percent, due to the governing body agreeing a new TV deal with Fox Sports.
Rugby Australia say they will continue to negotiate with players in the coming days.
"We are in ongoing dialogue with RUPA regarding a revised pay deal and are working in good faith to reach an agreement as soon as possible with Vodafone Super Rugby AU set to kick off in just over a week".
The competition is due to begin on Friday July 3rd, with the Reds taking on the Waratahs in Brisbane, followed by the meeting of the Brumbies and the Rebels on Saturday the 4th.
Meanwhile, Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan says they are open to the possibility of welcoming New Zealand into a potential 2027 World Cup hosting bid.
The Aussies are favourites to win the bidding rights following the 2023 tournament in France.
Speaking to New Zealand TV, McLennan says: "There's a lot of history between our two countries so I'm really open to that.
"I want to have a friendly and co-operative relationship. You're a fantastic rugby nation."
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