Wallaroos captain Shannon Parry expects more money for female players as Rugby Australia cashes in on hosting the men’s and women’s World Cups in 2027 and 2029.
RA chief Andy Marinos estimates the two tournaments will generate a windfall of between $50m and $60m for the cash-strapped governing body.
As well as putting RA back in the black after years fighting financial peril, Parry says the cash influx will offer major benefits for Australian women’s stars, who lag behind the men on the pay front.
“It definitely will and I think with the announcement of the 2029 World Cup at home we will see those resources and that funding support of the women’s programs,” Parry said.
“What that looks like now, I’m not sure. But there’s no doubt there’s conversations in the background at Rugby Australia to financially support the players and the staff so that we can bring home that 2029 World Cup, something Australia has never been able to do.”
Australia will host a women’s World Cup for the first time and Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper agrees his female counterparts should fight for a better deal.
“For professional sport, the more money that we can get everyone obviously it would be great,” he said. “How it looks, I don’t know. How the nuts and the bolts work, that’s for Rugby Australia and World Rugby to organise.
“But everyone wants to see everyone doing well and enjoying the game they love to play and getting paid well to do it.”
Hooper is confident that more money for RA will also slow the exodus of Test players to cashed-up overseas clubs and keep local talent in Australia to chase World Cup glory, as well as feature in the 2025 British and Irish Lions tour.
“This has a knock-on effect,” he said. “Not only the want to play is something that is intangible. There’s that level. Then with the financial boost it gives, you’re able to marry that up so you’ve got extra reasons to stay.
“So it’s an awesome time to be a young player. If you’re like in that 16-years-old slot, you’re right in the hitting zone there.”
Ultimately, Hooper believes Australia hosting World Cups two years apart will also attract more juniors to the code.
“It’s an opportunity to set it up and have some real longevity in the game,” he said. “With the Lions, we know that’s going to be massive. Then the World Cup, then the women’s World Cup so you start to create a runway.
“Not only for this 10 years but then further for hopefully my little boys if they want to play the game and if there’s an opportunity there to play at a professional level.
“It’s such a great sport at so many levels but the ability to play for a living, how good would that be? That’s literally what this has the opportunity to do and to bring the enjoyment and bring fans back to loving the game because it’s a unique game and a brilliant game.”