Unlike in football where players wages are batted round at will in the national press, the slightly murkier world of rugby players wages receives considerably less coverage. Salary caps, international appearances and sponsorships all add to the mystery and lack of information.
To help clear things up a little and give you more of an idea of the kind of salary a top rugby player can command here is our list of the 10 best paid rugby players in the world. As you might have guessed every player on the list is currently playing in the Top 14, whilst only three players on the list haven’t reached their 30th birthday yet.
10 – Matt Giteau – €40,000 per month
The Toulon centre and former Wallaby has become one of the cornerstones of his club side and looks to only be improving with age.
9 – Jamie Roberts – €40,000 per month
Roberts ditched the financial doldrums of the Welsh regions last summer for the French capital having won a 6 Nations title, Lions series and completed his degree in medicine.
8 – Bakkies Botha – €41,000 per month
At 34 years of age South African enforcer Bakkies Botha is still going strong on the French south coast having also received a recall to the Springboks at the end of last year.
7 – Carl Hayman – €41,000 per month
Another 34 year old international tight-five player for Toulon in the list, Hayman continues to be as solid as they come for his French employers.
6 – Dimitri Szarzewski – €41,000 per month
The first national on our list, Szarzewski may still look 21 but now into his 30s has swapped Parisian clubs for the big money on offer at Racing Metro.
5 – Thierry Dusautoir – €43,000 per month
The French captain has been at Toulose since 2006 and emerged as one of the stand-out loose forwards in France in recent years.
4 – Morgan Parra – €46,000 per month
The first player on our list under the age of 30, at just 25 the Cleremont scrum-half already has more than 50 caps to his name.
3 – Bryan Habana – €50,000 per month
The Springbok flyer may have had a number of injury issues since joining Toulon but still has plenty to offer at just 30 years of age.
2 – Jonny Sexton – €52,000 per month
Lions and Ireland fly-half Jonny Sexton may not have immediately settled into life in the French capital but at 28 has plenty of time to become a key figure at Racing.
1 – Jonny Wilkinson – €56,000 per month
Since moving to Toulon Wilkinson has firmly established his legacy as a true club legend with the fans and owners hoping he decides to play on for at least one more season.
Currently half the list is made up of players at Toulon with Racing contributing three players and Cleremont and Toulouse each contributing 1 a piece. Despite all the players being based in France, French players make up just 30% of the list alongside two South Africans, a New Zealander, Welshman, Englishman, Australian and Irishman.
The trend of big money foreign imports in the Top 14 looks set to continue next season with the likes of James O’Connor and Leigh Halfpenny already confirmed as joining Toulon this summer.