As the sport’s popularity continues to grow on a global scale, so does the salaries of the highest paid rugby players.
- 7 of the top 10 play in European clubs, 2 in Japanese clubs and 1 in Super Rugby. Considering the top 2 ply their trade in Japan, it would be interesting to see if there will be a significant shift in the coming decade of more big stars being lured by Japanese clubs, especially as the popularity of the sport continues to grow post-World Cup.
- 6 of the top 10 are flyhalves, including the top 3.
- 4 of the top 10 highest paid rugby players are 28 years old.
- Nearly all of the contracts below were signed before last year’s Rugby World Cup. There is only one new entry on this list compared to last year.
Without any further ado, here follows rugby’s “rich list”:
*The amounts listed below are in many cases not official numbers, but rather as widely reported in the media.
#10 Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs)
Star flanker Michael Hooper has committed to a 5-year contract with Rugby Australia and currently plays in Super Rugby for the NSW Waratahs. 5-Year contracts are rare in rugby and the signing in 2018 was only the second one in Australian rugby history. In January 2020 he stepped down as Waratahs captain but is still available to captain the Wallabies. Surprisingly only 28 years old.
#9 Nicolas Sanchez (Stade Francais)
A brilliant kicker, 31 year old Nicolas Sanchez is Argentina’s highest points scorer in their history and considered by many to be their best player. Signing for Stade Francais was labeled a “massive blow” for Argentinian rugby considering they do not select players playing outside of Argentina.
#8 Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints)
Another flyhalf on this list, Dan Biggar (30) is a world-class 10, excellent under the high ball and has a reputation as an accurate marksman. He has been in great form for Northampton Saints ever since he joined in 2018, although the exact length of his contract is undisclosed.
#7 Steve Luatua (Bristol Bears)
15-times capped All Black Steven Luatua is signed with Bristol Bears until 2021 and commands great respect both on and off the field. Still only 28 years old, it will be interesting to see if he could be lured back to New Zealand to play test rugby over the next couple of years.
#6 Owen Farrell (Saracens)
The face of England and Saracens rugby, Owen Farrell signed a bumper 5-year deal totaling £3.75m, keeping him tied up until 2022. Since joining Sarries, they have won two of the last three European Champions Cups. Yet another 28-year old, an interesting trend in this list.
#5 Maro Itoje (Saracens)
Still only 25 and already one of the highest paid rugby players on the planet, Maro Itoje could well move up this list before his time is done. Like Farrell, another Saracens veteran and a British & Irish Lion, Itoje is one of the very best players in the world at present.
#3 Charles Piutau (Bristol Bears)
Yet another 28 year old, Charles Piutau recently renewed his contract with Bristol Bears for another 2 years. The first million pound player in Britain, 17-times capped All Black is one of the most exciting backs in world rugby and probably the biggest loss for New Zealand rugby in recent memory.
#1 Handre Pollard (Montpellier)
South African prodigy Handre Pollard is arguably the best flyhalf in world rugby at present. At 25 he has not even reached his peak and already boasts a World Cup winner’s medal with the Springboks. Recently joining Montpellier in France, he should still have a long career ahead of him.
#1 Matt Giteau (Suntory Sungoliath)
Two players are tied in first position with the same reported contract amounts. First, Matt Giteau with 103 Test matches for Australia is a hugely decorated player with three European Cups, two Super Rugby titles and a Top 14 title. Following a successful stint at Toulon, Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath came knocking with an offer too good to refuse.
#1 Dan Carter (Kobelco Steelers)
Three-time World Rugby Player of the Year, Dan Carter (38) is probably the best flyhalf to have ever played the game. Scoring a record 1598 points in 112 tests, Carter has two World Cup titles, 9 Tri-Nations/Rugby Championship titles, three Super Rugby titles and a Top 14 title. On the back-end of a 17-year professional career, Carter was also recently voted as World Rugby player of the decade.
Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think of this list. Are there any players you suspect will make a push for the top 10 in the next year?