When it comes to professional sports, rugby players haven’t traditionally topped the list of highest income receivers. This is possibly because the sport has only recently started to gain popularity in countries such as the United States and Japan, where money is thrown at sports’ stars with reckless abandon. However, rugby is gaining ground and new spectators and with this, comes lots of cash. Here are 5 of the world’s richest rugby players.
Richest Rugby Players
5. Leigh Halfpenny – R10 million per season
Welsh and Lions’ fullback, Leigh Halfpenny, was awarded a record three-year contract with Toulon in 2014. He’s an impressive player so it’s no surprise that the French side was willing to part with several Euros to secure him. He has scored the third highest number of points for Wales and broke the record for most points in a single test for the British and Irish Lions during its 2013 tour to Australia. At club level, he single-handedly scored 14 points during the 2015 European Rugby Champions Club Final to help Toulon beat Clermont to take the championship.
4. Aaron Cruden – R13 million per season
Although English side, Bristol, offered All Black legend, Aaron Cruden, more money, he opted to sign with France’s Montpellier team for R13 million a season. Cruden made a name for himself playing for the All Blacks as fly-half. He’s been capped 50 times and spent a good five years with the Chiefs, but now he’s making some big cash playing for billionaire, Mohed Altrad. Montpellier is second in the Top 14 standings with five wins from their opening seven matches, however Cruden is currently recovering from a rib and a thigh injury.
3. Matt Giteau – R16 million per season
Despite his ‘advanced’ age of 35, this Australian rugby sensation is still in demand and earning some big money in Japan. He was snapped up by French team, Toulon, in 2011 right after the World Cup, and then signed a contract with Japan’s Suntory Sungoliath side. An exceptional player, the halfback, fly-half and inside centre has earned 92 test caps playing for Australia.
2. Dan Carter – R28 million per season
With his on-field talent, it’s no surprise New Zealand’s Dan Carter is earning some of the biggest money in rugby today. After winning the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Carter signed with Paris club, Racing 92. During his first season with Racing 92, Carter helped the French club win the 2015/2016 Top 14 title. The 36-year-old is not stopping anytime soon, though, as he’s decided to move over to Japan where he will play for the Kobe Steelers.
1. Ayumu Goromaru – R28 million (plus add-ons) per season
From the heart of Japan arose one of its biggest stars, Ayumu Goromaru, who has been raking in the cash following a very successful 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign. He was instrumental in beating the Springboks in the historic game, believed to be one of the biggest upsets in the history of rugby union. He went on to play for the Queenslands Reds in Super Rugby but then was snapped up by French side, Toulon for R28 million. He’s now set to head back to his homeland, where he enjoys quite a cult following, taking up a position with Yamaha Jubilo.