England women agree new pay deal with RFU

England women will be paid squad and match fees. Credit: PA

England's women are to be paid squad and match fees after a deal lasting one year was agreed with the Rugby Football Union.

The new arrangement has been finalised in time for the three-match series against Canada, which opens on Friday night, and will include the Six Nations.

It is the first time that squad and match fees - understood to be worth a total in the region of £5,000 for a player who features in every game this month - have been paid.

Previously, players were contracted to the RFU for the duration of a year.

"We have been working with the Rugby Players Association and a representative group of players to agree a pay structure," an RFU spokeswoman said.

"The pay deal includes squad and match fees and is another step forward in our drive to professionalise the women's game in England."