Eng­land to pay women play­ers for first time

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Total Rugby - By Fiona To­mas

Eng­land’s women rugby league play­ers will be paid for the first time when they com­pete in the in­au­gu­ral World Cup Nines in Syd­ney.

The 16-strong squad will be one of four na­tions to re­ceive in­di­vid­ual par­tic­i­pa­tion fees at the tour­na­ment from Oct 18-19, which will be equal to those paid to their male coun­ter­parts.

The two-day tour­na­ment in Aus­tralia – where Eng­land will face New Zea­land, Aus­tralia and Pa­pua New Guinea – forms part of the squad’s win­ter tour. Eng­land will then face Pa­pua New Guinea in two Tests on Nov 9 and 16.

While play­ers will not be paid over these two fix­tures, all travel, ac­com­mo­da­tion, sub­sis­tence, kit and sup­port staff for both trips will be fully funded by the Rugby Foot­ball League. The ven­ture has also re­ceived the back­ing of Sport Eng­land to sup­port its women’s path­way as it pre­pares to host the 2021 World Cup, which will run con­cur­rently with the men’s tour­na­ment.

At the World Cup Nines, or­gan­is­ers are of­fer­ing prize money to the run­ners-up and the win­ners of the women’s com­pe­ti­tion.

The one-off pay­ments are a pos­i­tive step for Eng­land’s play­ers, all of whom are am­a­teur and hold down jobs or study along­side their rugby com­mit­ments.

Bet­fred has ex­tended its spon­sor­ship of league to in­clude the am­a­teur Women’s Su­per League for the first time for the next two sea­sons. This month’s su­per league Grand Fi­nal will be the first Women’s Su­per League fix­ture to be tele­vised on Sky at the To­tally Wicked Sta­dium in St He­lens on Oct 11.

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