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The world’s highest paid rugby players

When talking about well paid athletes, people usually focus on Premier League footballers or American sports stars with hundred million dollar contracts. And if you prefer rugby, you might assume that the players in this gentleman’s game are on more modest salaries.

While that’s true to a degree, there are some surprisingly minted rugby players. You just have to look outside of the UK to find the biggest pay checks. Here are just a few of the top earners in the sport at the moment.

Manu Tuilagi

We’ll start off with fan favourite Tuilagi, whose current club Leicester Tigers pay him a cool £460,000 a year to remain loyal to them. He may have been hampered by one or two injuries and weight issues recently, but his flare on the pitch and his personality off it help to justify his earnings.

Johnny Sexton

Sticking to Irish side Leinster, as well as his home country itself, Sexton rakes in £500,000 a year. And fans will remember that he even spent a few years playing in France for Racing 92; a move which ended up being a bit of a career misstep, even if the money was right.

France is home to some of the biggest paying rugby teams around, as you’ll discover later in this list. This helps it to draw in players looking for a serious payday, even if they don’t all stick it out for long.

The southern city of Toulon and the rugby team of the same name are especially popular options for transfers. And with the casinos and night clubs of Monaco less than two hours away by road, it is obvious why big spenders flock to this region.

Sure, some top flight footballers can net Johnny Sexton’s annual salary in a week, but compared to most people his earnings easily put a lifestyle of wealth and fame within his grasp.

Ma’a Nonu

As mentioned earlier, Toulon pays top dollar for its rugby stars, one of whom is New Zealand-born Nonu. He’s won two Rugby World Cups with his national side and under his current contract takes home £600,000 a year. When you factor in sponsorship deals and other add-ons, his total earnings are likely to be much, much higher.

Living on the Mediterranean coast in a mid-sized city is the kind of experience that many people envy. Although the naval and trading roots of Toulon in particular make it a little less glamorous than some of its neighbours on the Cote d’Azur.

Gerwyn Price

OK, so this former Welsh pro wasn’t exactly one of the highest paid rugby players in the World but he’s our wildcard earner. This talented rugby pro had a stint in the pro12 league with Glasgow warriors, but recently discovered he had a knack for darts and has since broken into the top 25 darts players in the World, amassing over £300,000 in the last two years!

He reportedly also won $10,000 playing roulette whilst competing in a darts competition in Vegas! Luck & skill clearly favours this Welshman, if he had the same luck playing on casumobonus.com as he did in Vegas, he could become a millionaire yet some day!

Matt Giteau

Another of Toulon’s top earners, Giteau’s contract is for £900,000 a year. But according to recent reports, he could be looking to move over to the Japanese Top League this season. It’s unlikely he’ll take a pay cut in the process, even if he’s entering his mid-30s and is heading towards the end of his top flight career.

Some teams in his homeland of Australia have apparently been attempting to court Giteau’s attention. But as he’s used to living a life of luxury on the south coast of France, rubbing elbows with celebrities and Hollywood hotshots on holiday, it might take quite a bit to lure him back down under.

Dan Carter

Racing 92 is a rugby team that sits in the suburban expanses surrounding the French capital of Paris. So while it might not have the appeal of Toulon in terms of sun, sea and beautiful people, it can definitely pay a lot to secure the hottest assets in the game today.

Carter is another New Zealander who has made the leap to Europe to play club games, while still making an impressive impact on the field for his national side when the need arises. And at current reckoning he earns £1.4 million a year for his hard work.

To put that in perspective, the average salary in France at the moment is equivalent to around £24,000. So it would take a typical employee a little over 60 years to make what Carter does in the course of 12 months. It’s best to try not to think about it, to be honest.

Ayumu Goromaru

Hailing from Japan, where rugby is rising in popularity by the year, Goromaru now makes over £1.4 million a year thanks to transferring from the Queensland Reds to the deep-pocketed French team of Toulon. While this may only be a temporary switch, he could end up coming to a European team permanently in the future if his pay expectations stick at this level.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 11: Ayumu Goromaru of Toulon looks on during the Rugby Global Tens match Toulon and Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium on February 11, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

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