Rugby-England captain Hunter defends governing body's decision to cut women's pay

·1-min read
Women's International - England Training

(Reuters) - Rugby Football Union's decision to halve women's match fees for World Cup warm-up fixtures was defended on Monday by England captain Sarah Hunter, who said the pay cuts had been agreed months ago.

Players usually receive 800 pounds ($934) per test but will be paid half that amount for their September fixtures against the United States and Wales in the run up to the Women's Rugby World Cup, which starts on Oct. 8 in New Zealand.

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

"We agreed to it. We signed our contract months ago so that we wouldn't have to have conversations around match fees," Hunter.

"We just want to focus on the game on Wednesday then the World Cup, not on what the match fees are, what they could be or what they should be.

"New contracts will happen. You've just got to look at what the RFU has done for investment in the women's game. It is more than anyone else on and off the pitch."

Hunter added she was confident all parties involved would be satisfied with the outcome of the talks on new contracts.

"I'm sure those negotiations on match fees will be done with the RFU, with the players and with the RPA (Rugby Players Association) to come to some agreement that everyone is happy with," she said.

"We're just here to play rugby and those conversations will be taken up in the next contractual talks."

(Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdansk, editing by Pritha Sarkar)