Australia are the reigning Olympic women’s sevens champions

Australia will pay its men’s and women’s sevens sides the same wage for the first time as part of a new collective bargaining agreement.

The deal, struck between Rugby Australia and the Rugby Union Players’ Association, runs until 2020 and will also see the women’s XV-a-side team included for the first time ever.

As a result the Wallaroos will now receive match payments for all Tests.

Female players have also been given a new pregnancy policy in the agreement.

Australia are the reigning Olympic women’s sevens champions after winning the inaugural tournament in Rio last year.

Co-captain Shannon Parry hailed the pregnancy policy as “ground-breaking” and a significant breakthrough for women.

“We’re in such a different sport to most female athletes in terms of the physicality of the game,”

“But to make sure you’re not prevented from wanting to have children and a family is vital.

“To have the security of being able to return to your contract gives our squad a sense that the door will always be open.”

In November, England women’s players with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to receive individual match fees for the first time, while all players in the Elite Player Squad (EPS) receive a squad training fee.

In Australia’s new CBA, although top-level salaries could still be different for the two genders, the entry level salary of A$44,550 (£25,848) has been brought in across the professional game.

In the men’s game Super Rugby squads will be enlarged to between 36 and 40 players, compared with the previous 35 maximum, and clubs will also receive a salary cap boost of half a million Australia dollars, from A$5m (£2.9m) to A$5.5m (£3.2m).

In August, the Australian Rugby Union from Super Rugby.

Outgoing Rugby Australia CEO Bill Pulver said: “The new CBA is the first of its kind to incorporate all professional programs, including our sevens teams and the Wallaroos, and importantly addresses key issues of pay equality and player welfare.”

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