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Rugby World Cup Stars: What do they earn?

NOTE: if using the data below, it is essential that you refer to as ‘salary benchmarking site’ and use hyperlinks to

We've all been watching the 2015 Rugby World Cup, but few of us know how well the players on our screens are paid. This week we at Emolument asked ourselves how the salaries of Rugby World Cup stars compare to holding down a senior finance job in the city. 

  • Finance comes out on top: While the very top rugby players still have the edge over most bankers, the average player in the English Rugby Premiership earns only £70,000 – much less than a hedge fund trader or asset manager with a similar amount of experience, who can expect £160,000-172,000.
  • Combine the two: Perhaps the answer is to go for the best of both worlds, like Cobus Visagie. Visagie enjoyed a successful rugby career as a tight-head prop, including 29 caps for South Africa, before quitting the sport in 2009 and going into finance to set up an investment fund. He notes that rugby and investing are in some ways similar – they both require a game plan.
  • Football Still King: All the salaries on the list are dwarfed by those of top-earning footballers, with Lionel Messi on £34 million and Cristiano Ronaldo on £35 million. The average footballer in the English Premier League, meanwhile, earns £43,717… per week! Clearly rugby has some catching up to do.
Alice Leguay from said: “A rugby career can bring with it things that money can’t buy: excitement, glory, the adoration of millions of fans. On the other hand, if you’re making several hundred grand a year, you should be able to buy yourself prime tickets to all the biggest matches, and experience the excitement and glory from your VIP box.”

Source for rugby salaries: The Telegraph: World Rugby's Richlist
Source for football salaries: Mail Online - Premier League wages dwarf those around EuropeForbes: The World's Highest Paid Celebrities
Financial pay data based on 430 UK finance professionals from
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