Ronan O’Gara Reveals His First Salary As A Professional Rugby Player

Rugby has come a long way.

It was revealed in the last week that England and Saracens lock Mari Itoje could be set to become the Premiership’s first £1,000,000 player when his contract next comes up for renewal in a couple of years.

All Blacks legend Dan Carter already hit that mark in France when he signed for Racing following the 2015 Rugby World Cup, an indication of where rugby salaries are heading. Back in 1997 however, things were a lot different.

The game had just gone professional and salaries left a lot to be desired. Ronan O’Gara recently sat down with Eamon Dunphy in a fascinating interview on The Stand, and revealed how much he was first paid at Munster.

“The starting salary was £7,500 a year. After that, it went to £16,000 and then £25,000 and then you might get a national contract.
“Before all that, though, it was the pride involved. You can’t stress that enough.
“It wasn’t training during the day, at that stage. You could get your weights done between 7am and 9am, then go to college and train again after 4pm. And that’s a fella being fairly ambitious.” 

A far cry from a million a season.

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