Saints free to spend as Premiership salary cap is increased

CASH BOOST - Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder
CASH BOOST - Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder
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Saints have been handed a boost with the news the Premiership salary cap will rise from the start of next season.

The current cap stands at £4.76million, but that will rise to £5.1million, with academy credits, which cover players who are under the age of 24, joined the club before their 18th birthday and are earning more than £30k a year, increasing from £240,000 to £400,000.

It is hoped that will allow Jim Mallinder hold on to his prized assets as well as further strengthening his squad, with the chance to add a second marquee player, whose wages fall outside of the cap, also allowed.

That man must not have featured in the Premiership during the previous 12 months, preventing English clubs from cherry-picking each other’s players.

The changes were agreed at Wednesday’s meeting of Premiership Rugby’s chairman/shareholder group.

And Premiership rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty said: “We are delighted to confirm the number of England qualified players in Aviva Premiership Rugby has passed 70 per cent for the first time and we want to drive the numbers even higher.

“The increase in the base level of the salary cap will help our clubs to retain English talent. Also the introduction of homegrown player credits helps the enviable production line that has been established from our academies to our Premiership squads and on to England.

“England and their clubs are getting stronger because of our commitment to the development of world class England players in Aviva Premiership Rugby; the most competitive league in the world. It is an essential part of our league and the strength of our system.

“Earlier in the summer we saw an England Under-20s team dominated by players from our Academies win their second IRB Junior World Cup in 12 months so the production line is getting stronger.

“As we have already seen in the first two weeks of Aviva Premiership Rugby the league is compelling and dramatic, with a core of players desperate to play in next year’s Rugby World Cup. It is performances for their clubs that win them places at the tournament.

“Attendances are up this season and a record number of tries have been scored in the first two rounds. The standard of Aviva Premiership Rugby ensures England is in great shape not only for the 2015 Rugby World Cup but also for 2019 and beyond.”