Breakthrough in Aussie rugby talks as RUPA receives paperwork

RA boss Raelene Castle is coming under increasing pressure according to News Corporation Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

There has been a breakthrough in stalled talks between Rugby Australia and players regarding the COVID-19 shutdown as speculation swirls about the future of Raelene Castle.

There are mixed reports about just how much the RA board is currently agitating for change and whether embattled chief executive Castle could be sacked soon, with News Corp Australia suggesting former Wallabies skipper Phil Kearns is set to take her place.

Castle has faced a series of challenges since her appointment in 2017, most notably the Israel Folau saga, but nothing compares to the health crisis that has halted all sport at every level in Australia.

Earlier this week, some 75 percent of RA's non-player workforce were stood down and the governing body announced a $9.4 million loss.

RA has also been publicly butting heads with the Rugby Union Players' Association (RUPA) regarding pay cuts, but there was a key development on Saturday morning.

RUPA chief executive Justin Harrison released a statement, welcoming the receipt of "the financial information first requested from Rugby Australia almost a month ago".

"Given neither party has yet tabled any position relating to player salaries in the context of the COVID-19 crisis we need to be realistic as to the problems (still) to be solved," Harrison said.

"And the time (that is) necessary to deal with complex issues and have proper consultation with players.

"If other major codes are a guide, a week or weeks is not an unrealistic timeframe to reach a solution.

"RUPA has at all times been ready to enter proper negotiations as soon as transparent financial information was provided. We now look forward to a meaningful discussion."

Harrison added players are "keenly aware of the role they need to play in leading the code to a sustainable future".

"RUPA again emphasises our desire for open and transparent discussions conducted in good faith," he said.

"We are looking forward to advancing these discussions in a rapid timeframe."

Later on Saturday, RA confirmed RUPA had accepted an invitation to meet and discuss a potential resolution on Sunday afternoon.

"RUPA has today accepted an invitation to meet with Rugby Australia at 2pm AEDT tomorrow (Sunday) and we look forward to reaching a fair and reasonable agreement given the current circumstances the game is facing," an RA statement read.

Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was among those calling for more transparency from his former employer, while Melbourne Rebels captain Dane Haylett-Petty expressed frustration and disappointment with the stalemate.

"We care about the game as much as anyone else," the Rebels and Wallabies outside back told AAP.

"We've been left out of the loop and left out of the decision-making process to date ... hopefully that's changing.

"I felt like the AFL the very next day went straight to their players to sit down and talk about where they are at and how we're going to fix it ... (for rugby) it's been probably over a month now."