England players negotiate pay hike to £25,000 per Test match

England's players are already the highest paid in Test rugby but are negotiating to have their £15,000 fee per match hiked up to £25,000.

Ian Ritchie: RFU chief exec says a deal with players is close. Picture: Getty

The RFU must sign a new Elite Player Squad (EPS) agreement with Premiership Rugby before the start of next season and England chief executive Ian Ritchie insisted a deal is now close.

That expected four-year deal will cover everything from player release from club duty for Test action to academy set-ups.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ritchie anticipates Eddie Jones gaining more access to his players than any previous England coach in the new deal.

“I think we’ll get the time Eddie wants, he’s been involved and we’ve had discussions about that,” said Ritchie, who was more circumspect about whether England’s players will receive another pay rise.

“You’ve got to recognise that the players and the talent on the pitch is what makes the difference and of course it’s right as professional players they should receive the correct recompense.

“You would not expect me to talk here about what’s going to happen.

“We had a very proper negotiation the last time we had a four-year deal that everyone was happy with. And we’ll look forward to replicating that.

“It was very professionally handled last time and I’ve no reason to doubt it won’t be the same this time round.

“I’m only bothered about what it means in terms of England and I can’t talk about anybody else or if that makes them better paid: the matter is to have a full and proper negotiation. I certainly recognise the value of the players and what they bring to it.”