Players free for World Cup build-up after WRU compensation change

Rugby

International players based in England will be available for training camps ahead of the Rugby World Cup after the sport’s governing body offered Premiership clubs greater financial support if they lose players to injury on international duty.

World Rugby has more than doubled the amount of compensation it will pay out for players seriously injured while representing their country after Premiership clubs had threatened not to release their stars because of “false and unfair regulations”.

At its annual meeting in Dublin, the World Rugby Council approved changes to its rules on compensation which will come into force on July 1, more than two months before the World Cup begins in Japan on Sept. 20.

Premiership clubs had threatened not to release their players until as late as mid-August, but international stars including Scotland’s Sean Maitland and Wales fly-half Dan Biggar will now be available for their countries this summer.

“The welfare of players is our primary responsibility and we continually review the game’s regulations and laws to ensure that they are in step with a modern, evolving rugby environment and support the players, who are the beating heart of our sport,” said World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.

“Everyone now has certainty ahead of the Rugby World Cup of an appropriate and proportional level of guaranteed cover should an injury occur whilst on international duty during the sport’s biggest event.”

The increase in compensation from £225,000 to £500,000 will not a make a difference to England players, who are already covered under a separate agreement between Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union.

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