England players have agreed a new four-year elite squad deal with the Rugby Football Union worth a reported £20 million ($25 million, 23 million euros).

An agreement negotiated by the Rugby Players Association, with England captain Dylan Hartley involved, included the provision of individual match fees in the region of £22,000 a Test.

“These are exciting times for English Rugby, and the deal offers a significant uplift from the previous deal,” Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie said.

“We are delighted to have finalised a four-year agreement with the players ahead of the first Test in the Old Mutual Wealth Series tomorrow,” he added ahead of Saturday’s Twickenham international against South Africa.

“We would like to thank the RPA for their positive and constructive contribution to the new deal.”

England have won all nine Tests under coach Eddie Jones since Ritchie led moves to get the Australian on board after Stuart Lancaster was sent on his way following the hosts’ first-round exit at last year’s World Cup. – Agence France-Presse

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