Recently, it has been well documented that Gareth Anscombe thought his pay was unjust for his recent performances. This argument split many Welsh fans because some thought he deserved a pay rise whilst others thought he was being a little too greedy. This sparked some research into Welsh players pay.
So what are Wales players being paid?
It’s important to remember the key factors affecting pay.
Before diving into who’s paid what, it’s important to remember this will vary greatly for a few factors. Firstly, even if the player is one of the best in his position, they may be paid less than others because of their position. A perfect example of this is Ken Owens, also known as cannon ball Ken. Owens had a stellar Six Nations and was easily one of Wales best players. Yet Hookers in Wales are not deemed as worthy of the big money contracts, so he would be early significantly less than Gareth Anscombe. Anscombe is a fly-half who is rumoured to be on about £300,000.
So what are the pay scales for all Welsh players?
Like any profession, the inexperienced and young earn the least amount of money. This is only fair because the chances of them becoming a full time professional rugby player are still small, so little financial investment will be given to these players. Additionally, there is a high chance of injury within rugby so its hard telling whether young players bodies will be able to cope with the high physical demands.
Therefore, first time professionals can earn between £20,000 to £40,000 a season, which is still a pretty penny. A perfect example of this would be Max Williams. Williams is a lock who plays for Newport Gwent Dragons. He has shown his high skill level at Wales U20 level and has been dubbed a Welsh player for the future.
Seasoned professional who have not played test level rugby can earn anything between £40,000 to £110,000. It can be seen that the money varies greatly this pay bracket. The higher wages will be rewarded to players of high value positions, like fly-halves and flankers. Additionally, those youngsters who have high potential will receive the higher pay bracket.
An example of this could be Ospreys hot prospect, Keelan Giles. Giles signed a new contract a few seasons ago but is yet to be capped by the Wales first team. This has been a surprise too many Welsh fans because when he is fit he has consistently been one of the most prolific wingers in the Pro14.
An experienced, marquee professional who is not playing test level rugby can be expected to earn up to £160,000. For example, Ospreys full back Dan Evans will likely earn around £160,000. Evans is a crucial member of the Swansea region and they would be devastated without him. Therefore, this justifies the large payout for a non international rugby player.
New and young internationals start to earn the big money. They can be expected to earn anywhere between £110,000 to £180,000. The likes of Luke Morgan and Aaron Wainwright will be living comfortably off these contracts.
Non Lions who play for Wales.
Those seasoned Welsh internationals who have not been capped by the British and Irish Lions can be expected to earn £180,000 up to £300,000. This pay scale is towards the higher ends of rugby, with only English and French clubs paying higher. Players who fit into this category are Gareth Davies, Rob Evans and Josh Adams. All three can be expected to be earning near £300,000.
The creme de la creme of Welsh players, those capped by the Lions can be expected to earn the most money. For example, George North, Jonathan Davies and Welsh captain, Alun Wyn Jones can earn between £250,000 to £450,000. Not only does this reward Wales best players but its competitive pay which stops them from crossing the severn bridge into England and beyond.
A logistical and fair system?
The Welsh pay brackets seem to be the best way forward. It makes the youngsters strive for the financial gain. Additionally, it rewards Wales best and most loyal players. Hopefully, this will keep Wales best players in the regions, so they can still play for Wales and help develop regional rugby further.
Written by Sam Powell