JOE MARLER slammed the raging wage war between Premiership clubs and players as "an absolute crock of s***!"
The England star is the highest-profile player to come out swinging in the bitter verbal battle that has erupted following forced salary cuts of up to 25 per cent.
The top-flight clubs agreed in secret on Monday night to reduce the salary cap without informing their stars and players are furious at being blindsided by the large cuts.
Marler's Twitter outburst came as Premiership clubs launched a scathing attack on the players' union.
A statement from the clubs read: "Rather than provide support for their members, the Rugby Players Association have served to sow division and create uncertainty during a critical period that could define the future of professional rugby in the UK.
"While we accept tough decisions have been made, we wholeheartedly believe that those choices have been taken in the best interests of the clubs, players and the long-term prosperity of the competition.
"The clubs have had to take difficult but unavoidable action to ensure the future of the league. Therefore, we are disappointed by the position taken by the RPA.
"The RPA urging players not to negotiate a compromise, privately threatening strike action and publicly opposing reductions without offering any feasible solutions has resulted in a predicament that suits nobody not the league, the clubs, the players' union or the players themselves."
As SunSport revealed, players are fed up with clubs and their millionaire owners pleading poverty. Some are also feeling bullied into signing new deals by Thursday.
But the clubs said they wanted to "bring clarity" to some of the issues.
They added: "In private discussions with Premiership Rugby, the RPA accepted and understood that the need for salary reductions were required and stated 25 per cent was reasonable. And RPA staff have all taken pay cuts themselves.
"On April 22, a non-disclosure agreement was issued to the RPA with detailed financial information, as requested. This document was not signed or returned.
"The RPA missed the deadline given to engage with Premiership Rugby and left the clubs facing significant financial losses no choice but to act in unison."
Bizarrely, Premiership Rugby claimed they did not know where the statement first came from.
It later became clear it had been issued by the clubs, with the league trying to distance themselves from it – throwing into serious doubts over whether the clubs have any faith left in PRL chief exec Darren Childs and his team any more.
If the chaos can be resolved, games are due to restart on August 15.
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