Some eyebrow-raising news has come out of the Australian Rugby World Cup camp this evening, as it has become apparent that the ARU have hedged a substantial amount of money on their boys doing the business against New Zealand in Sunday's World Cup final.
The Sydney Morning Herald have revealed that a massive bet of 300,000 dollarydoos (or Australian Dollars if you insist on using the proper term) has been placed on the Wallabies on the order of the ARU in order to cover the cost of the win bonuses the players would receive should they defeat the All Blacks.
The Australian Rugby Union has placed a bet worth up to A$300,000 (NZ$320,000) on the Wallabies winning the World Cup.
The bet covers the ARU for up to A$3.1 million in tournament win bonuses they have agreed to shell out should the Wallabies bring home the William Webb Ellis trophy by beating the All Blacks in this weekend's final in London.
Each member of the 31-man squad would pocket a A$100,000 win bonus, while a A$10,000-a-game match payment for every player named in the match-day 23 will be pooled and split evenly at the end of the tournament.
So not only will the Aussie stars be returning home with a gold medal if they can emerge victorious in the final, but they'll be handsomely paid too.
Of course, the All Blacks could just spoil the party and win like many expect they will, in which case the Aussies would be not only gutted about the loss but also on the end of a stinging financial blow as well, but it must be worth the gamble to be able to cover the bonuses should they be successful.
But is this legal? Apparently yes, as the ARU are not placing the bet directly, but an insurance company would have been engaged to place the bet on their behalf, as explained by Stuff.co.nz:
World Rugby regulations prohibit anyone connected with a team placing a bet with a bookmaker, so it is common practice to engage an insurance company, which then places the bet directly with a bookmaking firm.
A statement from the ARU confirmed the agreement and suggested that this practise is commonplace:
We have an arrangement in place with [Rugby Union Players' Association] around player bonuses for the Rugby World Cup, the details of which are in commercial confidence. This arrangement is not inconsistent with what we've had in place for previous World Cups.
So if you didn't know that the World's best rugby teams usually have a massive bet placed on their by their national rugby union, now you do.