RFU to spend what it takes for Jones to win 2019 World Cup

£120m to be in­vested in pro­fes­sional game to give Eng­land best chance

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby Union - GAVIN MAIRS THE TALK OF RUGBY

Eng­land are to have unprecedented fi­nan­cial sup­port in their ef­forts to win the 2019 World Cup. The Rugby Foot­ball Union has told Ed­die Jones, the head coach, it will spend what it takes to en­sure his cam­paign is suc­cess­ful.

A record war chest of more than £120mil­lion is to be in­vested in the pro­fes­sional game over the next two years and the RFU has given the green light to the “de­tailed and com­pre­hen­sive plans” of Jones for the build-up to the tour­na­ment in Ja­pan.

Ex­pen­di­ture on pro­fes­sional rugby in Eng­land soared by over 50 per cent since 2015 to a record £63.7 mil­lion last year. In­vest­ment go­ing into the 2015 World Cup was £44.3 mil­lion.

Spend­ing in the elite game is likely to rise even fur­ther over the next two years, with an av­er­age to­tal of £56mil­lion al­ready com­mit­ted to the pro­fes­sional game agree­ment with the clubs – more than dou­ble the fig­ure in the two years lead­ing into the 2015 World Cup.

Last year’s rise of eight per cent also in­cluded an uplift of £3.2mil­lion fol­low­ing the agree­ment with the play­ers that sees each mem­ber of the 23-man squad re­ceive £22,000 per match as part of a lu­cra­tive four-year deal un­der which they will share a jack­pot of more than £20 mil­lion.

Player pay­ments last sea­son soared by 30 per cent, tak­ing their com­bined to­tal to more than £5.5mil­lion – up £1.2mil­lion from the pre­vi­ous sea­son alone.

And while the fig­ures for the to­tal pro­fes­sional game bud­get also in­clude spend­ing on women’s rugby, sev­ens, academies, the Cham­pi­onship, sports science, medicine, anti-dop­ing, events and com­pe­ti­tions, it is clear that the RFU is not afraid to match its stated am­bi­tion to win the World Cup with its fi­nan­cial mus­cle.

Steve Brown, the RFU chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “Ed­die al­ready has quite de­tailed and com­pre­hen­sive plans in place to build up to 2019 and we al­ready know what the costs of those things are and have al­ready fac­tored them into our fi­nan­cial plans.

“We are al­ready pre­par­ing for it. Our am­bi­tion is the same as Ed­die’s. We want to win this [the World Cup in Ja­pan] and we will do what we need to do to win it.

“The key to that is re­ally com­pre­hen­sive plan­ning two years out, as we are now, and mak­ing sure we fund all the things that need to be funded that are go­ing to make it hap­pen. It is a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber but it is com­pli­cated. There is a taste of it in the pro­fes­sional game fig­ure [£63.7mil­lion] that is in the [an­nual] re­port.”

Green light: Ed­die Jones

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