How Much Do Rugby Players Make Per Year?

Rugby is one of the most commercially successful sports in the world. You can learn more about how much rugby players make here.

There are few more popular sports across the world than rugby. However, one of the most peculiar facts about the sport is that it didn’t become professional until 1995. Therefore, throughout history, some of the top stars in the sport did nothing to represent their clubs' sides.


However, that changed following the changes in law, which enabled clubs to pay their players. You can find out all about how much rugby players make and discover who are the highest earners in the sport here.


The Highest-Paid Rugby Players


Finn Russell


The currently highest paid rugby player is Finn Russell, one of the best British rugby union players right now. Finn was rewarded for his excellent performances at Racing 92 when signing a deal with Bath recently.


The Scottish international, who represented the national team on the Rugby World Cup, will pocket a reported £1 million per year for the entirety of his three-year deal at the club. The fly-half is one of the most unpredictable players, and his explosive attacking qualities will likely be the difference between wins and losses for the Premiership outfit.

Even though he is the highest paid rugby player, you can see that this value is still far far away from the average salary of other sports stars in football (soccer), basketball, etc. The professional rugby player is still undervalued compared to other athletes.


Maro Itoje


Maro Itoje has been one of the key rugby players of the England national team side throughout his career, meaning that it is little surprise that he is paid handsomely by his club. The lock reportedly earns £800,000 at Saracens.


This figure is widely believed to be correct after it was claimed by Racing 92 president Jacky Lorenzetti that Itoje was demanding a salary of £1 million to join the Top 14 team two years ago, which would have matched his current wage in the Premiership.


Dan Biggar


Another one of the highest paid players in rugby union is the Welsh rugby international Dan Biggar, who reportedly earns around £800,000 to play for French club Toulon. There was a bidding war for the star after it was revealed that he would be leaving Ospreys, but the Top 14 club paid top dollar in order to get a deal for the star over the line.


The rugby union fly-half is already beginning to pay back that wage on the field after scoring 95 points in 15 appearances for the club since his arrival in 2022.


Dan Biggar

Owen Farrell


The second Saracens star to make the list is influential England fly-half Owen Farrell. The 32-year-old was reportedly open to new offers after running down his deal with the Premiership club, but reports claimed in early 2023 that he had agreed on an extension to remain with Saracens. It speaks a lot for how much do rugby players make in the Saracens that they are able to afford two of the highest paid rugby union players in the world.


These reports claimed that the England star would pick up wages worth £820,000 to remain in the Premiership with the reigning champions.

Owen Farrell


Antoine Dupont


One of the biggest stars in the world of rugby union also ranks among the highest earners in the sport. Reports have claimed that Antoine Dupont is paid around £700,000 per year by Top 14 club Toulouse.


It would be hard to argue against the scrum-half picking up one of the biggest wages in French rugby, as he has played key roles for the national team to win three Top 14 titles and the European Rugby Champions Cup. He also participated in the Rugby World Cup recently.

Antoine Dupont 2023


Overview Of Rugby Players’ Salaries


Earning a living in the sport as a rugby player can be a dream for all aspiring talents following the professionalization of the game in 1995. That is mirrored by some of the average wages handed out to players in some of the most competitive rugby leagues in the world.


On average, a rugby player in the Premiership would pick up around £100,000 per year, but that figure could be much higher depending on the importance of the player to the team. 


However, if you’re looking to answer how much do rugby players make on average, then the figure could be much lower. The typical average wage for top-level athletes on a club deal in rugby will be between £30,000 and £70,000 per year. In comparison to other sports, it seems to be a very low wage.


For example, players in the Premier League make an average wage of £3 million per year. Meanwhile, top-level rugby stars are also paid on average less than players in the second-tier for English football, with the vast majority of Championship players making between £500,000 and £1 million per year.


Factors Influencing Rugby Players’ Earnings


Fly-Halves & Centres

Fly-halves are the players who are rewarded for their performances by earning the most of the players on the field. Players in this position will reportedly average around £175,000 per year, with centres taking home around £157,000 on average.

Scrum halves & Hookers


Scrum halves and hookers rank toward the end of the scale, averaging wages of £116,000 and £113,000, respectively. Experienced players are also rewarded for their longevity, with averages finding that stars who have made over 100 appearances earning £200,000.


Experience at the highest level also counts for a lot, based on the findings. It was found that players with over 50 caps can earn on average £320,000 per year from their respective clubs.


Earnings In Top Rugby Leagues


The amount of money that players will pick up will largely depend on their importance to the club that they are representing. France’s Top 14 is one of the oldest competitions in the world of rugby, and players can be paid lucrative amounts, with the average wage in the competition being around £200,000.


That is drastically higher than the biggest wage paid in the Currie Cup, which remains the £167,000 per year paid to Tendai Mtawarira. The Top 14 average also outranks the Pro14, which sees players paid an average of £170,000 per year.


Premiership Rugby is also one of the most commercially successful, which impacts how much rugby players make on average. Reports have claimed that the average wage in the competition is £173,000.


Beyond The Field: Endorsements and Sponsorship


While the wages in rugby are below the averages found in sports such as football, many of the top players use their platforms on the biggest stage to increase their earnings through sponsorships. Typically, only the best-known and most marketable rugby stars are handed sponsorship opportunities, but they can be incredibly lucrative.


Huge stars such as Jonny Wilkinson and Dan Carter have been the faces of companies like Adidas, Jaguar, and Gillette. Players can also continue to take in more money for off-field activities.


Those include coaching and making public appearances. Experienced players typically offer their services for these to add on top of their average salary, as they can speak to aspiring professionals. Meanwhile, players who have recently retired from the game can take up media responsibilities and work as pundits for some of the leading broadcasters.


The Financial Reality For Most Rugby Players


The average wages of players playing in leagues below the top level make it challenging to earn a livable wage. Therefore, players who aren’t able to play against the world’s biggest stars typically represent smaller clubs and use rugby as a form of enjoyment and a second income.


For the vast majority of players, reaching the top of the sport can be too demanding, and it isn’t financially viable to pursue a career, as the average salary in amateur level is not satisfying.

However, that doesn’t take the enjoyment out of the game, as it remains an excellent way to meet like-minded people.  



So in conclusion, how much do rugby players make? Well, rugby players are able to work an excellent income when they are playing at the highest level of the games. But, the question revolving around how much do rugby players make typically requires a different answer depending on the standard that you are talking about.


However, the very best players that you can find at Oval3 rank high in terms of the finances in the sport, with the world leaders also able to pick up lucrative sponsorship contracts from world-leading companies.

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