"This is a Collaboration" - Jamie George Confirms More Hybrid Contract Talks Ahead of England Summer Tour - Ruck

“This is a Collaboration” – Jamie George Confirms More Hybrid Contract Talks Ahead of England Summer Tour

Whilst England continue their preparations for the incoming Summer Tour of Japan and New Zealand, there were some interesting progressions regarding the new hybrid contracts for leading England internationals.

The new contracts will in theory allow England head coach Steve Borthwick to have more say over his selected player’s workload, with the Professional Game Partnership set to be agreed in time for the 2024/25 Premiership season. Recent reports suggest that the ongoing discussions between the RFU and leading Premiership clubs are progressing as hoped, as England’s governing body looks to move towards a unique system within the rugby landscape.

Steve Borthwick, Head Coach of England during the England Captains Run at Twickenham Stadium, London on 9 February 2024 (Photo: George Beck/PPAUK)

England captain Jamie George confirmed that a meeting took place today, between two of the new Team England Rugby Limited Directors and RFU CEO Bill Sweeny. Bristol prop Ellis Genge and Leicester Tigers wing Anthony Watson spoke with Sweeny today, with George confirming a positive response following the meeting.

“It’s going really well. Team England is the name of the new organisation. There are a lot of negotiations going on at the minute. We probably had to get our own house in order first, but we’re really happy with where we’re at and negotiations with the RFU are ongoing. Two of the players were here today to have a meeting with the RFU in Ellis Genge and Anthony Watson, who are on our player board. They had a meeting with Bill Sweeney today. We were training so I don’t know exactly how that went.

“What I’ve been impressed with in terms of the RFU, we met with them around a month ago as our entire board and our representation, the RFU were so open and honest in terms of opening up the books, letting us see everything, proposing how things look going forward. That’s what the best thing is about the players having control of our contracts and futures, is being able to be at the forefront of it and we’re really happy with the representation we’ve had, it’s been brilliant so far. There are obviously going to be challenges in the negotiations but we have the right people in the right places, represented by the right people.”

Anthony Watson and Ellis Genge paid visits to ‘HQ’, despite not being named in the 36-man squad that flies out to Japan tomorrow. Watson and Genge took a trip to Twickenham’s boardrooms, whilst the selected England squad underwent a training session in front of the empty stands. England kick off their 2024 Summer Tour in eleven days time, with the off-field discussions taking the forefront as George spoke in his last media session before heading out to the Far East.

Jamie George, Captain of England celebrates after winning during the Six Nations Match between England and Wales at Twickenham, London on 10 February 2024 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)

“This is a collaboration. It’s not us versus them. That was exactly why we wanted to do what we have done. Before it just didn’t work, the synergy just wasn’t there. We want to go in and say let’s have this conversation. We understand we are incredibly lucky to do what we do, but also we understand that this is a business and the RFU got hit hard by Covid and all that kind of thing. Those conversations are ongoing.

“Them being open and honest about that showing us the books, the finances go way over my head but we’ve got other people who are able to understand it. I run a business on the side and I’ve always been ‘let’s not play any games, let’s get down to the point – what’s realistic here?’ That’s exactly how the conversations have gone and the conversations with Bill Sweeney, Conor O’Shea and those guys have been really, really impressive. Hopefully they can continue that way.”