England players deserve £1million a year - RPA chief


England's top rugby players deserve to make £1million a year, according to players' union chief exectuive Damian Hopley.

A new pay deal with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) was announced last week and could see players earning up to £300,000 each year in match fees.

That healthy pay packet will be in addition to their club salaries, bonuses and any money from sponsors or commercial commitments.

"The market place dictates what they deserve," Rugby Players' Association (RPA) boss Hopley told BBC Sport.

"If players are successful and conduct themselves in a way that is becoming to that role model status, then I think they do deserve it."

"The players generate huge amounts of money for the game," Hopley added. "In the context of the revenues being generated through English rugby, it's a very reasonable deal.

"We wanted to ensure that the players felt they were participating in the commercial upside of the RFU - and despite a disappointing World Cup for everyone, we have seen a fantastic year around English rugby revenues.

"England players in 2003 won £70,000 each for winning the World Cup, while players in this Old Mutual Wealth Series will pick up more than that for playing in four games for England."

RPA vice-chairman Mark Lambert added: "The RFU make a lot of money and it's only right the England players get that.

"There is potential for players to make a good amount of money, but you have to put in that hard work first in order to get there."