With players such as Elliot Daly and Owen Farrell recently signing new long term contracts, Last Word on Rugby thought it would be interesting to find out who are the top paid rugby union players. With values going up and up, the top paid players will soon rival Rugby League and Cricket salaries, plus endorsements.
While European Professional Rugby Clubs are the richest playground, not many can compare to the lucrative French Rugby scene. With their rich owners, they can pay ‘above market value’ if they so choose to. Whereas a salary cap and restrictions play their part, top paid rugby union players can become very rich playing footy.
And conversely, LWOR also list who we think now deserve to be in that ‘elite category’.
Top Five Highest Paid Rugby Union Players
5 – Ma’a Nonu
Nonu headed to the French club, Toulon, after the 2015 World Cup. The Toulon side was getting stronger and stronger, having players such as Habana, Bastareaud and JP Pieterson. The club have struggled in the past couple of years but Nonu has always impressed watchers whenever he has played.
Players of his calibre earn high salaries from their potential game-breaking abilities. If Nonu and the other stars can bring a title for Toulon, then winning bonuses will boost even higher his salary.
4 – Aaron Cruden
Cruden joined Montpellier in the summer of 2017. In the first few games of the season, Montpellier have fared well. Cruden will be able to bring that extra dimension to the squad.
His value comes from success, with a long history with the New Zealand All Blacks. He played Super Rugby for the Chiefs – earning two titles 2012/13.
He moves to France with a hope of bringing success at his new club.
Modern Day ‘Cult Heroes’ Earn Top Place Spots
3 – Matt Giteau
Giteau is a household name in world rugby. An Australian born rugby player who started off at the Brumbies. After four seasons, he moved to rival club Western Force with every intention of more seasons of tough rugby. With two seasons at Western Force he returned to the Brumbies.
After rising in the ranks of the Australian national team he was brought in by the French club Toulon, after the 2011 Rugby World Cup. After many faithful years at the French club, he has to now think of retirement–but only after a costly move to the Japanese rugby ‘Top League’ side Suntory Sungoliath.
2 – Dan Carter
A man who is deservedly up here. All die hard rugby fans will know who Dan Carter is. Highest points scorer in Test match rugby history with the All Blacks.
- Three time World Rugby ‘Player of the Year’
- Four Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders
- Six time Four Nations/Rugby Championship titles with New Zealand
- Two time Rugby World Cup winner (and MVP in 2015)
It is no shock that his name popped up. He is still going strong on the field, with a three year deal being signed with Racing 92 after the 2015 World Cup.
Carter probably earns more now in lucrative player-endorsements, with contracts to promote clothing, men’s jewellery/watches and more. He is more often the VIP at events across the globe–see images below with David Beckham.
The question in terms of rugby union is, how many years does he have left in the game?
Newcomer at Number One Highest Paid Player
1 – Ayumu Goromaru
A relatively unknown quantity in the United Kingdom, Goromaru (see main photo) played at full back during Japan’s emotional 2015 World Cup campaign.
He earns his place after recently joining Toulon on a one year contract, from Queensland Reds. Watch out for him because he is being trained by England legends, Jonny Wilkinson.
The declared salary of Ayumu Goromaru is reportedly £1,400,000.00 plus.
Those are the top paid rugby union players we know of who have the largest contracts. But here’s a look at who LWOR think deserve a mention on the list. And who LWOR think may be higher up in years to come.
Players Who LWOR Believe Could Make the List
A player who has bounced from club to club over the past few years. He joined Wasps from the Blues in 2015 on a one year deal before moving to Ulster. At Ulster he has claimed his starting spot. He has signed a contract to move to Bristol in 2018. Bristol have recently made a strong start in the Championship. Watch out for them bouncing back up.
Itoje is just 22 (see above picture), and has already accomplished more achievements than most players will in their whole careers.
He was recently selected as a tour member for the British and Irish Lions going to New Zealand, playing all three tests. Maro has been at Saracens since 2011, being groomed as a leader of men on and off the pitch. Itoje has shown that he (should) one day become captain of England Rugby, and a pivotal future leader within English rugby with his vast array of skill and superior athleticism.
Those two will one day be near the top of the tree. Notable mentions include: David Pocock, Damian McKenzie, George North, Sean O’Brien, Elton Jantjies and Jamie George. All names of future stars who; if persuaded to move to European rugby, would earn the highest wages paid for top paid rugby union players.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images