Ruby is one of the most popular sports in the world at the moment. Due to this popularity, it has been able to attract sponsorship deals and television royalties which in turn go to the players. Even though the earnings of these players may be pale compared to other athletes, nevertheless, there have been able to acquire a substantive amount of wealth. This article looks at the richest rugby players.
Often described as a hooligan game played by gentlemen, rugby has a cult-like fanbase, enabling some players to enjoy massive popularity. This makes them more marketable to the masses hence increasing their earnings. Who are these players? Read along as we rank 15 of the richest rugby players in the world and some of the highest-paid.
Who are the richest rugby players in the world?
Charles Piutau, Maro Itoje, Handré Pollard, and Owen Farrell are some of the most famous rugby players in the world who also happen to be the richest. Like other sports figures, these players make most of their income from salaries, partnerships, and endorsements. However, as evident throughout the list, some players are retired.
Sir Bill Gammell
Sir Tony O'Reilly
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15. Johnny Sexton- $1.5 million
With a career of over 19 years playing as a fly-half, this Irish national team and Leinster Ruby club captain has won several awards, including the 2018 World Rugby Player of the Year. In addition, with over 1000 points in his international career, he is among the highest points scorers in the sport's history. All this has brought him tremendous success, and his net worth is approximately $1.5 million.
14. Dan Carter- $1.8 million
Dan Carter, a New Zealand retired fly-half, is considered the greatest player in the game's history to hold that position. He had a career that lasted 18 years. In 2015 he released an autobiography, Dan Carter: The Autobiography of an All Blacks Legend, and in 2019 there was a documentary called Dan Carter: A Perfect 10, which, together with partnerships from brands like Mastercard, Louis Vuitton, and Addidas, bought him enormous wealth.
13. Owen Farrell- $2 million
Owen Farrell has been playing for the Gallagher Premiership side since he was 17 years and has been the captain of the English national team since 2019. He has earned a name for himself and has been touted as the best rugby league player of the last ten years. His net worth is reported to be around $1.8 million.
12. Maro Itoje- $2 million
Maro Itoje plays for the English club Saracens as a lock. He joined the club in 2012 when he was 17. In 2019 he signed an $880,000/year contract with the club, making him the second-highest earner.
11. Charles Piutau- $5 million
Charles Piutau is the world's highest-paid rugby player, a title he held with another player on this list for some time. Ever since this New Zealand international moved to Europe, he has established himself as a formidable force to reckon with. He is often touted as the greatest fullback in the game's history. He is one of the two wealthiest rugby players in the world still active.
10. Handré Pollard- $5 million
Handré Pollard is a Springbok star who currently plays for Leicester Tigers. Until last month, he was the other world's highest-earning player with Charles Piutau. In 2019 when he moved to the French side of Montpellier, he earned a salary of $2 million per year and made a lot of money during this period.
However, in September, he moved to the English side Leicester where he is set to earn $660,000 per year and is said to have turned down much higher pay. He is the other wealthiest rugby player in the world, still active.
9. Beau Ryan- $10 million
In a seven-year career (2007- 2014), Beau Ryan, a former Australian Rugby player, is considered one of the best multi-dimensional players. He played as a winger, fullback, and centre. Even though he had one of the most successful playing careers, he made most of his money post-retirement. He is mostly known for his hit single; where you from? And his reality show, The Footy Show.
8. Mike Tindall- $20 million
Mike Tindal is a legend in the English rugby scene. He started his career at 18, playing as an outside centre for Bath and Gloucester, making 75 appearances with the English national team, and was part of the team that won the 2003 World Cup.
Outside rugby, he is known for marrying Zara Phillips, the late Queen Elizabeth's eldest granddaughter.
7. Jonny Wilkinson- $21 million
Another English legend on our list is Johny Wilkinson. A player acknowledged as one of the best rugby players of all time and arguably the greatest kicker the game has ever seen. His moment of fame that resonates with fans today was in the 2003 World Cup final when he won the drop goal.
Though he earned a lot of money during his playing days, post-retirement, he works as a sports commentator, which has bought him enormous wealth.
6. Sonny Williams- $25 million
Sonny Williams is one of the greatest players who ever played for the All-Blacks. He was a success in rugby league and union, where he was one of the only 21 players ever to have won the World Cup twice. He made a lot of money from playing and later boxing which he transitioned to later.
He held boxing titles of New Zealand Professional Boxing Association (NZPBA) Heavyweight Champion and World Boxing Association (WBA) International Heavyweight Champion for a brief moment.
5. Steve Smith- $45 million
Steve Smith is a former English international player who captained the English national team between 1982 to 1983. He later started a garment company called Traders Cotton clothing with another English national team captain Fran Cotton in 1987. Between 1991 to 2003, he moved into commentary, working for ITV as a rugby commentator.
4. Sir Bill Gammell- $50 million
Bill Gammell is a business executive who had a brief rugby career with the Scottish national team from 1976-1978. His career was cut short by an injury, after which he started an oil exploration company in 1981 that has been able to bring him enormous wealth. His net worth is approximated to be $50 million.
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3. Simon McDowell- $54 million
Simon McDowell is a former Irish rugby player who had a remarkable career from 1987 to 1990 before an injury cut him short. But due to his passion for the sport, he did not let the injury deter him, so instead, he took up referring.
He has been a referee at two World Cups. Apart from his sports career, he is an heir to a profitable construction company.
2. Sir Tony O'Reilly- $180 million
O'Reilly is a legend in rugby circles and a permanent member of the International Rugby Board's Hall of Fame. His career lasted from 1955 to 1970. From there, he went into the cooperate world, rose up the ladder, owned a couple of majority shares in huge companies, and eventually became Ireland's first billionaire. However, he almost lost his wealth from business losses and corporate lawsuits. He eventually filed for bankruptcy.
1. Paul Caddick- $220 million
Even though Paul Caddick's career was cut short by an injury in 1980, that did not deter him from getting involved with the sports he loved in other ways. He started his own construction company, being a qualified civil engineer, which bought him immense wealth. He currently has the majority shareholder in the English club Leeds Rhinos.
Who are the richest rugby players in South Africa?
South Africa's Springboks is Africa's leading team and number three in the world, per the latest ranking in October 2022. Below are some of SA's richest rugby players.
Faf De Klerk
Who are the highest-paid rugby players?
As pointed out earlier, rugby players do not make as much as their counterparts. However, there are players who, due to their skills, have been able to be the most sought-after, hence commanding high salary. Below is a list of the highest-paid rugby players
Even though the above richest rugby players might not have the same financial success as their counterparts, rugby remains one of the most enjoyable sports to watch, with millions of cult-like fanbases worldwide.
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