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Women players to be paid for test matches under new deal

SYDNEY (AP) Australia's women's rugby union team will be paid for test matches for the first time under a new collective bargaining agreement, while professional sevens players' base pay has been raised to a similar level to their male 15-a-side colleagues.

Rugby Australia and players' representatives announced the deal on Wednesday which will also allow Super Rugby squads to increase their rosters to a maximum of 40, allowing more players affected by the axing of the Western Force to find clubs.

Super Rugby will be reduced to 15 teams from 18 this season, with the Perth, Australia-based Force one of the clubs that was eliminated.

Super Rugby clubs' salary caps have been increased from 5 million Australian dollars to $5.5 million ($3.91 million to $4.30 million), with players set to receive a 10 percent pay rise to about A$225,000 ($175,000).

Updated January 9, 2018