The Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) has stood down Izack Rodda, Isaac Lucas and Harry Hockings, following discussions with the three players and their agent.
The QRU made the decision following notification through the players’ RUPA accredited agent that three of his clients were unwilling to accept a reduction in pay and their nomination for the federal government’s JobKeeper subsidy, notwithstanding RA and RUPA‘s recently negotiated player-payment reduction agreement.
The decision has been made with the support of Rugby Australia.
QRU CEO David Hanham said: “Many industries in Australia are facing the same circumstances as sport in this country and the majority of our people have agreed to reduced hours under the federal JobKeeper legislation, which is assisting businesses such as ours through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We understand this situation is difficult for everyone and individual decisions need to be made to protect the long-term viability of Rugby in Queensland.
“As we have outlined before, these conditions are necessary at present and allow the QRU to create a financial bridge to the other side of this pandemic.
“Unfortunately, we have had to take the decision to stand-down three of our players. Given the recent negotiated player-payment reduction agreement, this was not a situation the QRU had expected to face.
“As we build towards the likely resumption of community and elite Rugby, the QRU remains focused and on-track to deliver on its three goals during the COVID-19 period – to ensure the health and safety of our people, to protect the financial viability of the QRU and to ensure the safety and viability of our clubs.”
Rugby Australia Director of Rugby, Scott Johnson said: “This is an unfortunate situation given we have an agreement in place for the interim period while the game navigates the COVID-19 situation.
“We want the players to remain in Australia and honour their contracts with the Reds and Rugby Australia. We are aware they are looking at their legal position, but we hope this can be resolved with the players as soon as possible and we will keep an open dialogue with them.”