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ITM Cup
Southland breach salary cap
ESPNscrum Staff
August 2, 2011
Southland's Scott Cowan looks on, Southland v Counties, ITM Cup, Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill, New Zealand, July 29, 2011
Southland have had a mixed start to the 2011 ITM Cup - winning two of their first four games © Getty Images
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The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) has announced that Southland were the only provincial rugby club to breach the new salary cap last year.

Apart from Southland, all national provincial championship unions were within the salary cap at the end of 2010, the NZRU said in releasing the final audited salary cap figures on Tuesday. NZRU general manager professional rugby Neil Sorensen said Southland's breach of the cap, by NZ$2399 (£1,285) had been expected.

A salary cap of NZ$2 million (£1.07m) was originally introduced in 2006 to apply equally across all provincial unions but was changed in the renegotiation of the collective employment agreement.

In 2010, and for the following two years, the salary cap level for provincial unions was determined according to each provincial union's commercial revenue, but was capped at NZ1.35 million (£720k). Sorensen said the NZRU always knew there would be a transitional period in 2010 for some provincial unions, and had allowed for this in the regulations.

"In Southland's case, we were satisfied that it had previous commitments to players that made compliance an issue in 2010, but that its contracting behaviour following the introduction of the new salary cap had not exacerbated the situation," Sorensen said.

Sorensen said Southland made a "genuine effort" to reduce its player contracting costs since the new salary cap level was agreed saying:. "We were satisfied that it had met the transitional requirements of the regulations."

The NZRU was generally pleased with the levels of compliance with the new salary cap arrangements. "The restructured salary cap has definitely contributed to a more affordable and sustainable competition and it's pleasing to see 13 of the 14 unions fall under the cap,"Sorenson added.

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