(Wales Online – 2nd January 2019)
The best paid positions in European rugby’s top leagues this season have been revealed.
The data released by top player agency Esportif shows outside-halves get paid more than any other positions in the PRO14, Gallagher Premiership and Top 14.
Wales star Dan Biggar is one of those, reportedly taking home around £600,000 a year at Northampton Saints. He is thought to be among the top 10 earning rugby players in the world right now. You can see the full list here.
There are intriguing differences in the next best paid positions in Europe’s top three leagues, with second rows perhaps surprisingly raking in more than other positions in the PRO14, while full-backs are second in line in the English Premiership and tighthead props are the second best paid in France, according to the average salary data.
Goal-kicking expertise and occupying a position of weakness in certain leagues all count towards boosting a player’s value, with tightheads seen as vital in the forward-orientated Top 14. Number threes also figure highly in the PRO14 and Premiership, with the specialist nature of the position and the relative lack of top players who can play there being key.
Bristol’s former All Black full-back Charles Piutau is reportedly the highest paid player in Europe in £1m a year, which may well account for the rise in average pay for full-backs in England’s top division.
Hookers are the worst paid players on average in the PRO14 and England, while openside flankers also figure relatively lowly in all three leagues.
PRO14 wingers were actually paid the least when similar figures were released a year ago, but the men out wide have seen a jump in the past year, occupying fifth spot on the list.
Average wages are higher in England and France, with the help of wealthy benefactors and bigger TV deals meaning there are more foreign imports.
The average squad in France is 44% foreign imports, compared to 38% in England and 28% in the PRO14.