Top 3 Highest Paid Players In Rugby
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The wealthiest rugby players in the world are challenging to confirm as some of the highest paid players receive significant funds from endorsements, whilst others have relinquished contracts.
Yet, the current wealthiest rugby players in the world today are South Africa’s World Cup winning flyhalf Handre Pollard, who tops the list along with Bristol Bear and former All Black fullback Charles Piutau, with Maro Itoje playing for England and Saracens taking third place.
1. Handre Pollard (Montpellier) – £1.52m
South Africa’s World Cup-winning Springboks playmaker Handre Pollard, born on 11 March 1994, became the richest rugby player in Europe when he agreed to leave the Bulls in Super Rugby South Africa after six years to join Montpellier in the Top 14 in 2019. Pollard, who joined the Vodacom Bulls straight out of school in 2013, signed for almost USD2 million per season at the French club, earning three times his South African team and national squad salary after playing in the World Cup.
Pollard was flagged as a favourite in the betting markets to be the top points scorer at the Rugby World Cup 2019, which he did, scoring 69 against his nearest rival Owen Farrell from the England squad who scored 58 points. He remains a favourite with punters looking to bet online. His partnership at Montpellier with South African Cobus Reinach could see the latter make it as a South African international and another name to look out for.
2. Charles Piutau (Bristol) – £1,000,000
Former All Blacks full-back or wing Salesi Tu’ipulotu “Charles” Piutau was born on 31 October 1991. Piutau gave up his international ambitions after winning just 16 caps for the All Blacks leaving well before he reached the peak of his career, when at 23 years of age, he first joined Wasps and then signed with Irish province Ulster in 2015. He became British rugby’s first million-pound player when he joined Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate at the start of the 2018/19 season having signed a two-year deal.
Bristol secured the deal, bankrolled by billionaire owner Stephen Lansdown, as part of its plan to be the leading club in Europe. Piutau was signed as a “marquee” player, allowed to be paid an unlimited salary as an incentive to players who might otherwise play for the richer French Top 14 or Japanese Top League. In August 2020, Piutau signed a new contract with the Premiership club, shortly before the rugby league resumes after a five-month hiatus.
3. Maro Itoje (Saracens) – £850,000
The 25-year-old recently committed his future to Saracens despite their relegation and remains the highest paid player at the club having signed a bumper deal with the two-time European champions a couple of years back.
Itoje is arguably the best lock in the world right now and has been in excellent form form since the restart, playing a key role in Saracens’ shock Champions Cup quarter final win over Leinster last month at the Aviva.
Racing 92 were linked with a loan move for the 2017 Lions tourist this year but his wage demands were said to be in excess of £1 million-a-season, putting the Parisian side off any deal to sign the England internatiional.
But he still remains one of the top earners in world rugby on his current deal with Sarries.