The Ruck magazine published its top 20 salaries. Behind Dan Carter and Matt Giteau, who joined Japan for a gold bridge, the English championship is more generous than the Top 14.
The leading British magazine, Ruck, published the Top 20 highest paid rugby players on the oval planet in 2019. A ranking dominated by two old glories, gone to cash their last fires in Japan, the New Zealander Dan Carter (passed by Perpignan and Racing 92 ) and the Australian Matt Giteau (ex-Toulon). The two stars make 1.3 million euros a year for a handful of Japanese championship games to play. A competition won last season by the All Black double world champion with his team of Kobelco Steelers.
The proof, if it was necessary of one more, that the Japanese Top League became the first destination, in particular for the players of the southern hemisphere, thanks to its incredible wages, its reduced schedule and its matches less rough than the Top 14. Thus, at the end of the World Cup, the All Blacks Kieran Read, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock; the Wallabies David Poccok, Will Genia, Bernard Foley; Springboks Malcom Marx, Duane Vermeulen, Jesse Kriel, to name a few, have joined the Japanese archipelago. For salaries which, no doubt, will appear in the Top 20 of the year 2020.
The English Premiership did more than compete with the Top 14
Another observation of this ranking, the Premiership does more than compete with the Top 14, by placing 9 players (against 6) in this Top 20. With the possibility of two salaries outside the salary cap (the famous Salary Cap), English clubs can offer XXL contracts. Thus Bristol which remunerates the former All Black Charles Piutau 1.2 million euros per year or the Saracens who keep the two crown jewels, Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell.
The Top 14 is therefore placed in this ranking with six players, but only one French, the scrum half Morgan Parra, 670,000 euros annually in Clermont according to Ruck. But the biggest salary of the championship of France is to be sought from Montpellier where the opener and world champion of South Africa, Handré Pollard, was recruited for 1.2 million euros per year. Placing themselves on the third step of the podium.
Stade Français Paris is present with the Argentinian Nicolas Sanchez (€ 650,000). His compatriot Pablo Matera, captain of the Pumas who arrived in the capital in November, will overtake him in 2020. It would seem that the British magazine has however forgotten Gaël Fickou who, according to several concordant sources, is the best-paid Tricolor with 800,000 euros per year. The pillar of the XV of France and Clermont, Rabah Slimani, could also have joined this Top 20 with his annual salary of around 600,000 euros.
No Toulousain in this Top 20
Lower down, we find Toulon with the Welsh scrum half Rhys Webb (€ 645,000) and Sergio Parisse (€ 590,000, to be shared with the Stade Français where he played until June). A hierarchy that will have turned upside down in 2020 with the emoluments of the South African colossus Eben Etzebeth (estimated at, at least, 1M € annual). The biggest salary in Racing 92 goes to the Scottish opener Finn Russell (€ 630,000), who was ahead of the now ex-Racingman Leone Nakarawa (€ 600,000).
No Toulousain in this Top 20. Surprising with the presence in the ranks of the champion of France of the twirling world champion Cheslin Kolbe. The winger extended his contract last season until 2023, but the managers of Stade Toulousain were very discreet about his fees. Which could mean that the former Irish opening half of Perpignan, relegated to ProD2 last June, Paddy Jackson, now London Irish and 19th in this ranking, would affect more than the South African …
Note that apart from Japan, England and France, the other championships are very difficult to exist with only one participant for Super Rugby (Australian Michael Hooper, Waratahs). No better for the Pro14 (ex Celtic League) with the only Johnny Sexton (Leinster).
Beauden Barrett will double his salary in 2020
Finally, surprise with the absence of Beauden Barrett in this Top 20. The best player in the world 2018 earned 580,000 euros among the Hurricanes. Very coveted by European clubs, the master of the All Blacks, however, stayed in New Zealand, with the Auckland Blues. A new contract which runs until the next World Cup in 2023. According to local media, the NZ federation broke its piggy bank to retain it by practically doubling its emoluments.
1. Matt Giteau: 1,300,000 euros (Suntory Sungoliath)
2. Dan Carter: 1,300,000 euros (Kobelco Steelers)
3. Handrè Pollard: 1.2 million euros (Montpellier)
3. Charles Piutau: 1,200,000 euros (Bristol Bears)
5. Maro Itoje: 940,000 euros (Saracens)
6. Owen Farrell: 880,000 euros (Saracens)
7. Steven Luatua: 760,000 euros (Bristol Bears)
8. Dan Biggar: 700,000 euros (Northampton Saints)
9. Nicolas Sanchez: 680,000 euros (Stade Francais Paris)
10. Michael Hooper: 670,000 euros (Waratahs)
11. Morgan Parra: 670,000 euros (Clermont)
12. Stuart Hogg: 645,000 euros (Exeter Chiefs)
13. Manu Tuilagi: 645,000 euros (Leicester Tigers)
14. Rhys Webb 645 000 (Toulon)
15. Johnny Sexton: 630,000 euros (Leinster)
16. Finn Russell: 630,000 euros (Racing 92)
17. Kieran Read: 600,000 euros (Toyota Verblitz)
18. Sergio Parisse: 590,000 euros (Toulon)
19. Paddy Jackson: 590,000 euros (London Irish)
20. Faf de Klerk: 590,000 euros (Sale Sharks)