While Samoan rugby struggles financially, England commits T$400m to win World Cup

While rugby in Samoa and Pacific countries struggle with finances and management issues, the big boys of the sport are facing a different challenge. 

England, for instance, is reported to have already committed unprecedented financial support in their efforts to win the 2019 World Cup, with the ultimate goal of stopping the All Blacks from claiming the Webb Ellis trophy for the third consecutive time.

According to the UK’s Daily Telegraph, the England Rugby Football Union has told Eddie Jones, the head coach, it will spend what it takes to ensure his campaign is successful.

The Daily Telegraph reports that a record war chest of more than £120 million (T$400m) is to be invested in the professional game over the next two years and the RFU has given the green light to the "detailed and comprehensive plans" of Jones for the build-up to the tournament in Japan.

Expenditure on professional rugby in England soared last year by over 50 per cent to a record £63.7 million (NZ$124m). By way of comparison, New Zealand Rugby spent $NZ48.5m on their professional teams last year, of which the All Blacks would have taken a sizeable majority.

In England, spending in the elite game is likely to rise even further over the next two years, with an average total of £56 million already committed to the professional game agreement with the clubs - over double the figure in the two years leading into the 2015 World Cup.

Last year's rise of eight per cent also included an uplift of £3.2 million following the deal with the players that sees each member of the 23-man squad receive £22,000 in total fees per match as part of a lucrative four-year deal that will see them share a jackpot of more than £20 million.

Player payments last season soared by 30 per cent, taking their combined total to more than £5.5 million - up £1.2 million from the previous season alone.

And while the figures for the total professional game budget also include spending on women's rugby, sevens, academies, the Championship, sports science, medicine, anti-doping, events and competitions, it is clear that the RFU is not afraid to match its stated ambition to win the World Cup with its financial muscle.

It is here they will have a big advantage over every other nation at the tournament. Their total number of players also dwarfs New Zealand; last year there were 382,154 registered players in England. In New Zealand there were about 155,000.

Steve Brown, the RFU chief executive, said: "Eddie already has quite detailed and comprehensive plans in place to build up to 2019 and we already know what the costs of those things are and have already factored them into our financial plans.

"We are already preparing for it. Our ambition is the same as Eddie's. We want to win this [the World Cup in Japan] and we will do what we need to do to win it.

"The key to that is really comprehensive planning two years out, as we are now, and making sure we fund all the things that need to be funded that are going to make it happen. It is a significant number but it is complicated. There is a taste of it in the professional game figure [£63.7 million] that is in the [annual] report."

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