England’s Premier Rugby Limited (PRL) is threatening to deny international players leave to prepare for next year’s Rugby World Cup, if World Rugby doesn’t resolve an ongoing dispute over insurance costs.
According to The Guardian, the issue is around the compensation that clubs are due when contracted players are ruled out as a result of injuries suffered while on Test duty. Unions reportedly don’t have a good record when it comes to taking out adequate cover for such circumstances, and this has left clubs waiting on compensatory payments.
The PRL is threatening to leverage their mandated control of contracted players outside of the official Test window which opens in mid-August next year, five weeks before the 2019 Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan. While England Rugby has an agreement in place with the PRL for the release of Test players, this messy squabble may splatter the Springboks as the likes of Willie le Roux (Wasps) and Faf de Klerk (Sale) could be stuck in the gap between the end of an abbreviated Rugby Championship and mid-August.
But Wales and Scotland are particularly vulnerable as players from those countries will be inaccessible to the respective national coaches between the end of the 2019 Six Nations (16 March) and mid-August, and the same applies to England-based players from the Pacific Island nations.
While World Rugby reportedly agreed to raise the maximum salary that will be fully covered to £350,000 (R6.3m), the PRL wants more insurance.
— Staff Writer