Much like every World Cup in different sporting codes, the Rugby World Cup in 2019 will serve as a runaway where rugby players from 20 nations will be strutting their stuff in front of potential suitors. Player value will go up and down like stocks at the JSE depending on whether they shine or disappoint.
Here are the top 10 highest earners in rugby as we head into the 2019 World Cup.
10. Michael Hooper
Dubbed the $6 million man, Michael Hooper recently signed a new lucrative deal with Rugby Australia which will see him lead the Wallabies into the World Cup. The contract guarantees he Australian captain will dawn the national team jersey for the next 5 years.
His contract is worth $6 million ($724,844 per year) placing him at a humble tenth place on our list.
9. Nicolas Sanchez
Argentina’s highly rated and talented no.10 was enticed away from the Jaguares to sign with the rich Stade Francais club. He comes in ninth place with a cool $736,249 earned this year.
8. Ma’a Nonu
He proved a brilliant acquisition when he signed for Toulon after the 2015 Rugby World Cup. His best days may be behind him and is currently club-less, however he’s still reaping the rewards of his mega-deal with Toulon earning him $760,326 in the year of 2018.
7. Dan Biggar
Dan Biggar, or affectionately known as the ‘Governor’, has been the brains behind a Welsh backline that has impressed. The Governor left Wales in a big money move to Northampton Saints. The deal saw him also earn $760,326 in 2018.
6. Steven Luatua
Steven Luatua did not have too many friends in the All Blacks hierarchy when he decided to make a move to Bristol. He was once thought to be the natural replacement for Kieran Read, and still is, if he decides to head home again. He earned himself a cool $823,686 in 2018.
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5. Aaron Cruden
Aaron Cruden seemed to be the back-up no.10 in the All Blacks squad so instead of hanging around, he decided to make a big money move to Montpellier. In all honesty, he has been outstanding since his switch, justifying his the huge price tag that accompanied his switch. He lands the fourth spot with an earnings of $861,702 in 2018.
4. Charles Piutau
Charles Piutau became the first million-pound player in British rugby history when he left home and signed for Bristol. Arguably the biggest loss to British rugby to date, considering he left just before reaching the peak of his powers. He continues to shine for his club and has earned himself $1,267,210 in 2018.
3. Matt Giteau
Even though Matt Giteau has not played for his country since the 2015 Rugby World Cup final, he seems to be sitting comfortably on the highest earning players in 2018. He’s currently playing in Japan where clubs are company enterprises. He bagged a handsome $1,393,931 in 2018 placing him in third place.
2. Dan Carter
Dan the man’s contract with Racing 92 was reportedly worth just under $2 million however he had to take a pay cut upon his move to Japanese club Kobe Steelers, poor old Dan.
At age 36, he still earns a considerable sum of $1,393,931, not too shabby.
1. Israel Folau
The poster boy of Australian rugby, Israel Folau, lands the coveted number 1 spot. His spot may be in jeopardy as his contract ends in 2018 and may need to take a salary cut if he re-signs with the ARU.
He will certainly relish the position for as long as it lasts, his earnings in 2018 was around $1,774,094.
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