Rugby Australia has confirmed the development of a transition plan to cope with a salary cap and player number increase for the 2018 Super Rugby season following the decision to axe the Western Force.
The current rules subject Australian Super Rugby teams to a $5 million salary cap for a 30-man play roster, excluding top-up funding for Wallabies players, but that will need to be increased to provide opportunities for Western Force players who were left without a club but wish to remain in Australian rugby.
"Collectively across Rugby Australia, RUPA and the four Super Rugby teams we are developing a transition plan for 2018 to assist us to keep our best talent in Australian Rugby," said Ben Whitaker, Rugby Australia's General Manager High Performance.
Whitaker warned there will not be a completely equitable outcome for every team, but said Rugby Australia was confident the plan will ensure the financial viability of the competition while also keeping top-level talent in the country.
"Ultimately, what we hope to achieve is to retain our best players in Australia, support the transition of former Western Force players, and give each team the opportunity to develop their squads and achieve winning outcomes next season.
"We are confident that the transition plan will enable us to seamlessly return to an agreed set of contracting conditions for 2019 and beyond."