Rugby: What an English victory tonight means

Christian Lealiifano of Australia is smothered by the England defence during the test match between England and Australia on June 11, 2016. Photo / Getty
Christian Lealiifano of Australia is smothered by the England defence during the test match between England and Australia on June 11, 2016. Photo / Getty

England will move to second place in the world rankings for the first time since 2004 if they defeat Australia in the second Test in Melbourne to clinch the series, triggering bonus payments of more than £230,000 for Eddie Jones's squad, The Daily Telegraph understands.

Under the England elite player squad agreement, the Rugby Football Union pays each player in the 23-man squad a bonus of £10,170 if Jones's side moves up from third to second place in the world rankings at the end of the season.

England had dropped as low as eighth place following the World Cup debacle before Jones took over in December, and even though the squad shared a £600,000 team bonus for England's first Six Nations Grand Slam since 2003, their race up the rankings is also set to trigger a further bonus payment.

The RFU has also set aside a pot of £1,952,623 to cover the players' image rights for the season, including their four World Cup matches and Six Nations campaign and the three-Test series in Australia.

The 32 players in Australia have each received a tour fee of £9,339, while each member of the 23-man match-day squad also receives a match fee of £7,322 on top of the image rights. It is understood, however, that there is no specific win bonus if England go on to secure what would be a historic first three-Test series over Australia.

In 2013, the RFU had set England the target of finishing in the top two of the world rankings going into last year's World Cup but Stuart Lancaster's side ended up in fifth place before their pool-stage exit following defeats by Wales and Australia.

Meanwhile, Australia have taken the unprecedented step of asking to attend England's meeting with South African referee Craig Joubert ahead of the second Test at AAMI Park here.

Michael Cheika, the Australia head coach, evoked the new World Rugby regulations that allow members of the coaching team to be present if their opposition asks for a briefing with the match official on the eve of a Test match.

The meeting normally provides a head coach with the opportunity for clarity on issues surrounding the match and likely interpretation of the laws at the scrum and breakdown.

The move by the Wallabies comes after the build-up to the crucial second Test has been dominated by claims from former Australia players and coaches that England's scrum was illegal during their first Test victory in Brisbane.

Cheika claimed that Australia had not known about the option of meeting the referee ahead of last Saturday's opening Test but now wanted to see Joubert at the same meeting as England, which was expected to be attended by Eddie Jones. Previously, such meetings have been held separately with representatives of the two sides.

"There's a meeting with the referee for both teams, together," said Cheika. "The English guys wanted to see the ref. As normal, as per the rules, we're invited along so we'll go along and have a listen," Cheika said. "We didn't ask the referee for the meeting. The rules say that if you ask for a meeting, the other team is invited if they want to take up that opportunity. We figured we would."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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