Premiership stars left in limbo by the coronavirus shutdown are weighing up whether to contest league-wide moves to cut wages by 25 per cent.
A host of top-flight players whose contracts expire this summer are seriously considering challenging the temporary pay cuts, the PA news agency understands.
A significant number of Premiership players are still out of contract at the end of the season with no new deal or move of club yet finalised.
And some within that group fear being left without a club whenever the new season eventually starts.
Every Premiership club has asked its players and staff to accept a 25 per cent cut in wages during the league’s suspension.
The clubs cannot enforce the cuts but most players are said to have been understanding of an extended period where the Premiership is generating no revenue.
🗣️ "These are unprecedented times so we’ll need to take unprecedented measures. Some boys will be happy about it, others won’t" #GallagherPrem
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) March 23, 2020
Some out of contract stars have, however, already seen offers for next season frozen or withdrawn entirely.
So a number of players have slipped from considering offers from several clubs before the coronavirus crisis, to now effectively having nothing on the table.
Some clubs’ final stages of recruitment and retention have been put on hold by the shutdown, and players caught in uncertain situations now hold genuine fears for their long-term futures.
Premiership clubs are confident the wage cuts will safeguard them against grave financial problems, provided the league is back in action by September.
Premiership Rugby bosses are considering staging matches in midweek and behind closed doors in a bid to complete the current season.