An article in the Times newspaper has put the spotlight on the stark differences in terms of the amount of money available for rugby union players.
It comes as the sport in the UK is set to face fresh pressure to take a bigger role in providing financial support to the game.
The article, which was written by Sports Minister Richard Bruton, claims there are currently £8 billion available for the next four years for the Rugby Union World Cup.
“We’re talking about a world-class rugby tournament with a global reach,” Bruton said.
“We are the only major sport in Europe that does not have a national governing body and the only one in Europe with an existing, national governing organisation.”
“In other words, the only sport in our country with a national government and a national playing pool.
We’re going to have a global appeal, we’re going have a world class competition, we are going to be the world champion and we’re looking at a lot of money to invest in our national sport.”
Bronton, speaking to The Irish Press on Friday, said he would be asking the Rugby Players Association (RPA) to “do a full review” of the funding and make recommendations to help the game improve its financial position.
This is what he said: “What we’ve seen is that we are the smallest country in the union, we have the largest rugby population in the country, and the majority of our players are under the age of 25.”
The reality is that our game is in crisis.
“I want to ensure that our future is bright, that we’re in a position to take on some of the challenges that the sport has been facing for a long time.”
A review is expected to be undertaken by March, and Bruton has said the RPA will be able to deliver “the most comprehensive and realistic” plan to ensure rugby is the “go-to sport” in the future.
“We want to be a catalyst for change and change is coming in a big way,” he said.
Brent Scowcroft, the RPS national chairman, has previously said the game is facing a “very tough” year.
Rugby Ireland’s current financial situation has seen the sport lose over 30% of its revenue, which is equivalent to around €12 million ($16.4 million).
“Rugatory is in serious financial difficulty, with our revenue falling by 30% since the end of the last financial year,” he wrote in an open letter to the RTP in January.
“The impact of the RPT is yet to be fully assessed, but we believe that we will be forced to cut the game in future years.”
The RPS had previously stated it expected the RTA to be “very supportive” of its “urgent” needs to help maintain the game’s viability.