Grand Slam worth £100k per player this season

Wales Grand SlamThe Six Nations Grand Slam will be worth a record £5m to the winner when the tournament kicks off next weekend.
Despite the recession, prize money is up again this year with the winning Union standing to collect around £500,000 more than the £4.5m Wales won last year.  That worked out at £90,000-a-man and this year the rewards will be even greater.
England will push that total into seven figures if they achieve their first clean sweep since Sir Clive Woodward’s all-conquering team beat Ireland in Dublin en route to winning the World Cup eight months later.
As many Grand Slams have been won since Italy joined the world’s oldest annual international competition in 2000 than in the last 20 seasons of the old Five Nations.    Seven have been won in the last ten season – Wales (2012, 2008, 2005), France (2010, 2004), Ireland (2009) and England (203).
The tournament’s escalating commercial worth from all sources can be gauged by the accepted estimate that it generates gross revenue approaching £300m.  Almost a third of that will be distributed among the six competing Unions.
Even in the nightmare English scenario of Chris Robshaw’s Red Rose team losing all their matches, the RFU’s piece of the cake will still top £10m.  A Grand Slam would jack it up to around £15m.
As a further indication that there is still no rugby business like Six Nations business, the bottom team will be guaranteed more than £800,000.   The wooden spoon now comes with a gold plating.
The event can claim a truly global dimension with television projecting it far beyond the boundaries of the six competing nations.    It will be seen in more than 150 other countries world-wide, starting next weekend and finishing in mid-March.
“It’s become a world-wide phenomenon,” Six Nations chief executive John Feehan told The Rugby Paper.
The event has long been a unique centre-piece of European rugby and has been able to stand apart from the common herd by resisting the introduction of bonus points.
But after years of rejecting the idea, the subject is now under serious consideration with Wales among those countries in favour of the tournament making the first change to its points system.
The subject was high on the Six Nations agenda earlier this week and could be enforced as early as next year.
“We are reviewing the subject on an on-going basis,” Feehan said. “One position in the final table can mean a difference of hundreds of thousands of pounds. We have done a lot of research and if we were to go to bonus points, it may not necessarily be the model as used by European Rugby Cup.
“The review about bonus points is on-going.  It’s a question of whether they will add or subtract to the Championship. That’s the discussion.”
Not everyone is in favour. Philippe Saint-Andre, the France coach who spent long years in England with Gloucester and Sale, has voiced his objection to any tampering with the status quo.
“I like the system as it is,” he said. “Maybe I’m old school but I would not feel happy if a team wins the Grand Slam but doesn’t win the Six Nations because another team gets more points on account of the bonus.”
That would have happened in 2002 when England lost to France but scored a flood of tries in their four other matches. Had bonus points operated then, France would have wound up in the very odd position of winning the Slam but finishing second.
Saint-Andre added: “I came into rugby because as a child I used to watch the Five Nations. It was all about trying to win the Grand Slam.”
In an attempt to convince the French that bonus points will improve the tournament as a spectacle, the organisers have been kicking around a proposal to ensure that a Grand Slam winner always finishes first. One plan is to do so by awarding an extra four points to the country winning all five matches.

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