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Thursday, June 20, 2024

The 20 Highest-Paid Rugby Players in the World

Rugby player in teal jersey escapes from pursuing defender in white jersey
Premier Rugby Sevens

The best players can earn lofty wages in the most popular rugby leagues worldwide. Owen Farrell, fly-half of Racing 92, tops the list as the highest-paid rugby player in the world for 2024.

He reportedly earns $1.2 million as a key position player in sparking attacks. The high-profile Englishman had spent his entire career at Saracens in the English Premiership. 

In January, the wealthy French club Racing 92 made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Racing 92 is part of the elite-level Top 14 French Rugby League. Russell had been making about $800,000 a year from Saracens, his home club since he was a teenager. 

The offer from Racing 92 boosted him to the top of the list. 

Finn Russell is the second highest-paid rugby player. He’s the only other player on the list to earn over $1 million a year for his services. 

Russell signed for Bath in the English Premiership for $1 million in 2023. He’s also Scotland’s co-captain for their national squad and is a fly-half.

South African winger Cheslin Kolbe earns the third spot for his exceptional play. He formerly played in France’s Top 14 for Toulon. 

Kolbe’s 2023 deal for a reported $930,000 sent him to Japan. He now plays with Suntory Sungoliath in Japan’s Rugby Union League. 

Faf De Klerk is the highest-paid scrum-half on the list. His annual salary of $900,000 establishes him as the fourth highest-paid rugby player. 

A fellow South African, De Klerk left the English side Sale Sharks in 2022. He signed with the Japanese club Yokohama Canon Eagles after their immense offer. 

The captain of South Africa’s Rugby team, Siya Kolisi, makes the list at fifth. Kolisi plays for the French club Racing 92 for an estimated $800,000 to $850,000 a year. 

He helped captain South Africa to back-to-back World Cup victories in 2019 and 2023. 

The National Rugby League, based in Australia and New Zealand, fields the most valuable Rugby players in the world. Ten players make the highest-paid rugby players list. 

Japan’s Rugby League One and France’s Top 14 have two players each among the top five highest-paid rugby players. 

Rugby in countries like the US has a long way to go to catch up in spending. The sport continues to gain popularity and may eventually land players on the list.

Ranking The Highest-Paid Rugby Players

Here is the full list of the highest-paid rugby players of 2024, compiled using data from Yahoo News, GQ Australia, and The Scotsman.

  • Updated: May 17, 2024
RankPlayerPositionTeamOrganizationTotal Compensation
1Owen FarrellFly-halfRacing 92Top 14 (Rugby League)$1.002 million
2Finn RussellFly-halfBathPremiership Rugby (Rugby Union)$1 million
3Cheslin KolbeWingSuntory SungoliathJapan Rugby League One (Rugby Union)$930K-$937K
4Faf De KlerkScrum-HalfYokohama Canon EaglesJapan Rugby League One (Rugby Union)$900K
5Siya KolisiFlankerRacing 92Top 14 (Rugby League)$800K-$850K
T-6Dan BiggarFly-halfToulonTop 14 (Rugby League)$800K
T-6Mario ItojeLockSaracensPremiership Rugby (Rugby Union)$800K
8Antoine DupontScrum-HalfTouloseTop 14 (Rugby League)$700K
9Kalyn PongaFullbackNewcastle KnightsNational Rugby League$637K
T-10Nathan ClearyHalfbackPenrith PanthersNational Rugby League$631K
T-10Cameron MunsterFive-EighthMelbourne StormNational Rugby League$631K
12Mitchell MosesHalfbackParramatta EelsNational Rugby League$628K
T-13Daly Cherry-EvansHalfbackManly-Warringah Sea EaglesNational Rugby League$625K
T-13Tino Fa’asuamaleauiPropGold Coast TitansNational Rugby League$625K
T-13Payne HaasPropBrisbane BroncosNational Rugby League$625K
16Steven LuatuaFlankerBristol BearsPremiership Rugby (Rugby Union)$620K
17Nicholas HynesFive-EighthCronulla-Sutherland SharksNational Rugby League$619K
18James TedescoFullbackSydney RoostersNational Rugby League$619K
19Tom TrbojevicFullbackManly-Warringah Sea EaglesNational Rugby League$619K
20Handre PollardFly-halfLeicester TigersPremiership Rugby (Rugby Union)$610K
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