Rugby is a popular sport all around the world, but it is especially well-liked in Europe. The highest-paid rugby player in the world includes some of the sport's greatest players. It's now the third-most viewed sporting event in the globe. These athletes are well-known because of their dedication to the game, talent, and dedication to the game.

The highest-paid rugby players in the world are listed below (Updated by in 2023):

1. Handre Pollard (South Africa) – £1.52 Million

Handre Pollard - Photo: KEO

Handre Pollard was acquired by Montpellier from Super Rugby's Bulls in 2020. Currently, Pollard is the highest-paid rugby player in the world, earning a total of £1.52 million annually. He ranks first on our list. He has also competed for his nation in more than 60 games. In the 2019 World Cup championship game, Pollard scored 22 points. He currently has a net worth of more than £1 million.

In the Western Cape city of Somerset West, he was born on March 11th, 1994. The region is renowned for its vineyards in particular. The fearsome forward pack that South Africa is known for needs someone to pull the strings in the back.

At the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Handré Pollard, a true all-round ten who can kick, pass, run, and tackle, did just that as he assisted the Springboks in winning the Webb Ellis trophy for a third time.

Dan Carter

Dan Carter is currently the highest-paid rugby player in the world. He is New Zealand’s best fly-half and he plays for his club, Racing Metro, in France.

His contract at the French club offers him an annual salary of £1.1 million. This makes him the highest-paid rugby player in the world.

#2. Charles Piutau (New Zealand) – £1m

Photo: Sky Sports
Charles Piutau - Photo: Sky Sports

The speedster has reportedly been making £1 million at Bristol Bears for some time, and when he transferred from Ulster to the team, he became the first rugby player in British to do so.

He plays rugby union for New Zealand. He previously played for New Zealand's national team, the All Blacks, and currently plays fullback (and occasionally wing) for England's Bristol Bears in the Premiership.

In 2010, Piutau's first year out of high school, he made his Auckland debut and was named the city's Under-20 player of the year. At the end of the 2012 Super Rugby season, he was added to the Blues squad to fill in for injured players. He quickly established his talent with two'man of the match' performances.

Piutau will join Irish club Ulster at the start of the 2016–17 season, it was announced on April 1st, 2015.

In the 2015–16 season, Piutau joined English club Wasps in the Aviva Premiership. Piutau had a significant impact on Wasps during his time there. In the quarterfinal of the European Rugby Champions Cup match against Exeter Chiefs, he scored a try in the 80th minute to advance Wasps to the semifinal. Piutau was a member of the Team of the Season and a candidate for the Aviva Premiership Player of the Season award.

Piutau's departure from Ulster to join Bristol Bears at the conclusion of the 2017–18 Pro14 season was officially announced in August 2017 by the province.

Throughout the 2013 Super Rugby campaign, Piutau joined the All Blacks training group. He played his first test on June 22 in New Plymouth against France. His decision to relocate to play club rugby in Europe was influenced by the fact that he was not chosen for the 2015 World Cup.

#3. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa) – £900k

Photo: SA Rugby magazine
Photo: SA Rugby magazine

The Springbok enforcer is in the middle of a three-year contract in southern France and is reported to be earning just shy of £1m.

When playing for Hoërskool Tygerberg in Cape Town, Etzebeth showed great promise and joined the Western Province youth system in 2009, playing in the Under-18 Craven Week tournament. He won the Varsity Cup with the UCT Ikey Tigers in 2011, but injury halted his progress and he missed the 2011 Currie Cup.

He made the Stormers' 2012 Super Rugby squad despite his injury. On 25 February 2012 against the Hurricanes, he returned from injury to debut. He played 13 times and scored 1 try as the Stormers won 14 of 16 league matches before losing to the Sharks in the semi-finals.

He returned late in the 2012 Currie Cup, winning his first three Western Province caps and helping them win their first title since 2002. Province defeated the Sharks 25–18 in Durban with his Man of the Match performance.

Etzebeth missed the first half of the 2013 Super Rugby season due to injury, but he returned to play 8 matches and score 1 try. He led the team with 47 lineouts and 8 throw steals. Etzebeth missed most of the 2013 Currie Cup due to Springbok commitments, but he returned for the last three matches. The Sharks defeated Western Province 33–19 in Cape Town to reclaim the Currie Cup.

Etzebeth missed the first half of 2014 due to a November 2013 foot injury. In April 2013, he signed a contract with Western Province and the Stormers until 2016.

Etzebeth was yellow-carded after fighting Blues loose forward Akira Ioane in 2017.

#4. Finn Russell (Racing 92) – £850k

Photo: The Herald
Photo: The Herald

Last year, Racing 92 re-signed the talented fly-half for three years. According to The Rugby Paper, he earns £850,000 with Paris.

Scotland fly-half Russell, who joined Racing 92 from Glasgow Warriors in 2018, is one of the world's highest-paid players.

The 28-year-old has thrived at the French club, which suits the attacking fly-half.

In recent years, Japanese clubs have offered higher salaries to attract top players like Beauden Barrett and Michael Hooper.

Russell is the most notable European player to play in Japan, as most high-profile foreign players are from New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia.

Maro Itoje (ENGLAND ) – £860,000

Itoje, an Urhobo rugby player who was born in the UK, plays on the blindside flank for Saracens in the English Championship. He has played for his team more than 130 times and has more than 50 England caps. Along with his most well-known rugby accomplishments, he has also won the English Premiership five times and the European Rugby Champions Cup three times. The highest paid players on the England rugby team, according to reliable sources, are reportedly Maro and Farrell, who each earn a sizable six-figure sum of money annually.

#5. Cheslin Kolbe (Toulon) – £850k

Photo: RugbyPass
Photo: RugbyPass

With his summer move from Toulouse to Top 14 rivals Toulon, the speedster made a fortune. After buying out his contract from the league/Champions Cup double winners, he now earns €1million per year.

Cheslin Kolbe, Dupont's Toulouse teammate, was sidelined by coronavirus in 2020.

But the Springboks star can take a year off and still be one of the world's best rugby players. Kolbe scored in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final against England and helped the Springboks return to the top of international rugby.

Kolbe perfected the sidestep. The 27-year-old can handle most one-on-one situations and loves running with the ball.

His flashy feet make him the most entertaining rugby player in the world.

In 2017, the former Stormers star moved to France. Kolbe's ability to instantly change a game is his biggest asset. He captures your attention.

Owen FARRELL (ENGLAND) — £800,000

Farrell plays rugby union for the Saracens of the RFU Championship and is the captain of the English football team. With more than 1000 points, the fly-half is his nation's second-highest point scorer. He also holds the record for the most test points ever, winning 1080 from 97 tests. Currently serving as Ireland's head coach, Farrell also serves as a patron for Joining Jack, a charity that supports people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. On the field, Farrell is renowned for his adaptability and lightning reflexes.

#6. Maro Itoje (Saracens) – £800k

Photo: Rugby World
Photo: Rugby World

Last year, Racing 92 president Jacky Lorenzetti revealed that Itoje wanted €1million to join.

Itoje's Saracens salary is reported to exceed £800,000.

Maro Itoje, England's brain and brawn, is arguably the world's best lock.

He can quickly turn over balls and is hard to escape during a maul. Itoje has plenty of international and domestic rugby left at 26.

Itoje, who played in all three Tests against the All Blacks in 2017, is likely to be the first Lions player Warren Gatland picks.

South Africa's forward line overwhelmed him in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final. Itoje can lead England to glory.

#7. Virimi Vakatawa (Gloucester) – £780k

Photo: Planet Rugby
Photo: Planet Rugby

French reports say Les Bleus' centre signed a massive contract with Racing 92.

New Zealand-born French Rugby Union player Virimi Vakatawa (born 1 May 1992) plays for Racing 92 in the Top 14 and the French national team. He plays wing/centre. He joined the French 7s team in 2014 and was selected for the 2016 Six Nations Championship in January.

Sireli Bobo, a Fijian winger in France, signed Vakatawa to Racing Métro 92 in 2010. Simon Raiwalui mentored him. He scored his first try against Leinster in his 2010–11 Heineken Cup debut.

Vakatawa rejoined Racing 92 for the 2017–18 season on June 13.

#8. Beauden Barrett (Suntory Sungoliath) – £780k

Photo: Sky Sports
Photo: Sky Sports

The Daily Mail reports Barrett earned £780,000 last year with Suntory Sungoliath in Japan.

International teams focus on stopping Beauden Barrett in New Zealand.

The 29-year-old is the All Blacks' captain after a stellar 2015 Rugby World Cup. For a player who can offload to New Zealand's deadly backs, the fly-half scores a try every two-and-a-half international matches.

Barrett joined Blues in 2020 after nine seasons with rival Super Rugby team Hurricanes.

In 2021, he will play for Suntory Sungoliath in Japan, where he has a contract until 2023, when the next World Cup will be in France. Barrett, 29, is still going strong.

#9. Michael Hooper (Toyota Verblitz) – £750k

Photo: Planet Rugby
Photo: Planet Rugby

Toyota Verblitz paid him £750,000 during his sabbatical in Japan.

Michael Hooper captains the Super Rugby Waratahs and the Wallabies. He plays openside flanker.

In 2010, Hooper replaced George Smith for the Brumbies.

He joined the New South Wales Waratahs in 2013 after a breakout 2012 season for the Brumbies. Hooper won the Brumbies' Best Forward, the ARU's Rookie of the Year, and third place in the John Eales Medal in 2012 despite playing less than half the polling games.

Hooper won the Waratahs' and Australian Super 15 Player of the Year awards in 2013.

After team regular Dave Dennis was injured in the Waratahs' first game of 2014 against the Western Force, Hooper was named captain for the Queensland Reds match on 1 March 2014. Hooper captained the Waratahs to a 33–32 win over the Crusaders in the 2014 Grand Final at ANZ Stadium.

Hooper signed with Toyota Verblitz for the 2020–21 season in August 2020, his first serious move to play domestic rugby outside Super Rugby since joining the Brumbies in 2010.

#10. Owen Farrell (Saracens) – £750k

Photo: beIN SPORTS
Photo: beIN SPORTS

The England captain is entering the final year of his Saracens contract and is reported to be earning a lot of money with unknown bonuses.

England fans were slow to accept Owen Farrell at fly-half, but the Saracens coach has become a club and national star.

England's best penalty kicker since Jonny Wilkinson is 29-year-old Farrell. Farrell led England to a strong Autumn Nations Cup run, and while he will play at least one season in the Championship with Saracens in 2021, the Wigan lad is likely to be in the Lions squad in the summer.


The most successful players in rugby have been able to amass a significant amount of cash as they have progressed through the levels of the sport.

This makes rugby another extremely lucrative activity. Several of the most talented and well-liked athletes are currently locked into contracts that guarantee them annual payments totaling in the millions of dollars.

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