England captain Hunter defends governing body’s decision to cut women’s pay

The Rugby Football Union’s decision to halve women’s match fees for World Cup warm-up matches was defended on Monday by England captain Sarah Hunter, who said the pay cuts were agreed months ago.

Players are normally paid £800 (US$934) per Test, but will be paid half that amount for their September games against the United States and Wales ahead of the Women’s Rugby World Cup, which starts in New Zealand on October 8.

While the Women’s Rugby Association (WRA) players’ union had called the RFU’s decision “disappointing”, Hunter said her focus was on England’s next game against Wales on Wednesday and the World Cup.

“We agreed to that. We signed our contract months ago so we don’t have to have any game fee talks,” Hunter said.

“We just want to focus on Wednesday’s game and then the World Cup, not what the game fees are, how they could be or how they should be.

“New deals are being signed. You just have to look at what the RFU has done to invest in women’s football. They are more than anyone on and off the pitch.”

Hunter added that she was confident that all parties involved would be happy with the outcome of the new deal talks.

“I am sure that these negotiations on game fees will be conducted with the RFU, with the players and with the RPA (Rugby Players Association) to come to an agreement that everyone is happy with,” she said.

“We are only here to play rugby and those talks will be taken up in the next contract talks.”