Australia's professional rugby players have agreed to a significant pay cut after a deal was agreed between Rugby Australia and the four Super Rugby teams.
The boss of the Rugby Union Players' Association (RUPA), Justin Harrison, confirmed the agreement after weeks of negotiations with the sport's governing body, Rugby Australia and the four teams.
The 192 professional players have agreed to take an average 60 per cent salary cut for the next six months in an interim deal which is believed to be weighted towards the games top earners.
The deal will run until 30 September with the game currently shutdown in Australia due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Harrison said: "Australia's professional players will play a central role in the short-term preservation of the game by accepting a significant reduction in pay in order for necessary transformation to begin.
"The players reached a resolution with the member unions and Rugby Australia today."
As part of the interim deal, up to six players would also be afforded the option for a sabbatical between 2021 and 2023.
It is reported that this group includes some of Australia's highest earners and also a group of players who have ticked off a minimum number of years' service in Super Rugby as well taking a cut.
They would not be paid by Rugby Australia or their Super Rugby teams during that time if they take up that option.
Rugby action in Australia has been suspended since March with Super Rugby halted after seven rounds of matches.
The chief executive of Rugby Australia, Raelene Castle, thanked the players.
"Sporting organisations around the world are experiencing an unprecedented challenge, as indeed the whole of society is, and rugby is no different as we continue to come to grips with the impacts of the global COVID-19 crisis.
"The players recognise and appreciate their role and shared responsibility in securing the future and helping us navigate through this difficult time and I want to thank them, on behalf of the game, for their willingness to work with us to reach an interim solution that will help us protect the long-term future of Rugby in Australia."
The news comes after Rugby Australia stood down three quarters of its administration staff while Castle has also agreed to take a 65 per cent pay cut, with her executive taking a 30 per cent cut to their salaries.
Ireland were due to tour Australia in the summer with matches in Brisbane and Sydney in July before a Dublin clash in November.
This latest blow for the sport Down Under would cast further doubt over any of those Tests taking place.