Rugby Australia on Saturday tore up the contracts for Wallabies lock Izack Rodda and two of his former Queensland Reds teammates after they refused to take a pandemic-enforced pay cut.
The decision to release Rodda and rising youngsters Isaac Lucas and Harry Hockings came a day after the players had moved to terminate their Reds contract after being suspended over a bitter pay dispute.
They were the only Australian-contracted Super Rugby players to refuse a six-month pay cut of up to 60 percent designed to give financial relief for the code after matches were suspended following the coronavirus outbreak.
“Rugby Australia and the Queensland Rugby Union have made the decision to release the three players from their contracts, effectively immediately,” Rugby Australia interim chief executive Rob Clarke said.
The Covid-19 shutdown has exacerbated financial strains on RA, which was already struggling after reaching a multi-million dollar settlement with star try-scorer Israel Folau over his sacking for homophobic comments.
The body has laid off 75 percent of staff to cut costs during the virus emergency as sport is brought to a halt, with 189 professional players in Australia accepting pay cuts.
The 25-Test Rodda had signed a four-year deal with Rugby Australia and the Reds last November to take him through to the next World Cup.
Lucas had also committed to the Reds until 2023, while Hockings was off contract at the end of this year.