As a consequence of the current Covid-19 crisis, Ulster Rugby have put all players and the majority of its coaching staff on the UK government's furlough scheme.

While on furlough up to 70% of the provincial team's members will avail of the programme where 80% of staff's wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month will be paid by the UK government.

As part of an agreement struck with the IRFU last month, Ulster will top up earnings to a deferred salary level.

Ulster chief executive Jonny Petrie said that the decision to furlough was not met with any resistance from the players.

Speaking to the BBC, he added: "Everyone understands the situation and wants to work together.

"We have to protect the business so that when we come out of this, we are are at least as strong as when we went in," he added.

"Reaching agreement with players was not a particularly challenging process as everyone sees it as fair in the present climate and environment.

"We will review the employment situation as we go through the next few weeks when we have some clarity, can plan around facts and an environment exists for our players to return and work and take part in structured training.

"Like many others we have sought to take advantage of the relevant government schemes at a time when we still have many of our costs but we don't have anywhere near our level of revenues coming into the organisation with matches not being played.

"As well as VAT holidays and rates reliefs, we also moved quickly to defer percentages of salaries right across the organisation in line with the IRFU and the players were included in that."