Is Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard among rugby's highest earners?
Bok fyhalf Handre Pollard is close to the top of rugby’s top earners if a list compiled by Wales Online is to be believed.
In a climate of pay cuts‚ general stagnation and uncertainty‚ a compilation of top earners may seem desperately ill-timed while some notable omissions also cloud the credibility of the list.
Pollard‚ who now represents Montpellier‚ is believed to be top of the heap alongside All Blacks exile Charles Piutua who runs out for big spending Bristol Bears.
Going into the new season they will reportedly earn £1 million (R23m) per annum.
Piutau‚ who played in 17 Tests and his last turning out to be the 2015 clash against the Springboks at Ellis Park‚ was the first player to sign a £1-million contract.
Pollard reportedly tripled his salary since leaving the Bulls last year‚ aided in no small part due to the Rand plummeting to desperate lows.
The only other South African in the top 15 was Faf de Klerk who rakes in £500 000 (R11.7m) a year.
Crucially‚ the list does not include other apex earners like Dan Carter and Matt Giteau who both play in Japan.
Their salaries are not known but with the J-League now cancelled‚ their contracts have also run their term.
They were reportedly on £1.1 million contracts in Japan.
The list also excludes what giant All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick is earning in Japan.
How the suspension of the Top 14 until at least September will impact player contracts remains to be seen.
Players in New Zealand have had a pay freeze‚ while those in Australia have had their salaries slashed by up to 60 percent for the highest earners.
Players in South Africa will also feel the pinch with SA Rugby announcing last week that up to R1-billion is due to be slashed off the industry’s budget over the next eight months.
Top 10 earners
1 = Handre Pollard (South Africa/Montpellier) - £1 million Charles Piutau (New Zealand/Bristol Bears) - £1 million
3. Maro Itoje (England/Saracens) - £875 000
4. Owen Farrell (England/Saracens) - £750 000
5. Steven Luatua (New Zealand/Bristol Bears) - £650 000
6. Dan Biggar (Wales/Northampton Saints) - £600 000
7 = Nicolas Sanchez (Argentina/Stade Francais) - £580 000
Morgan Parra (France/Clermont) £580‚000
9. Michael Hooper (Australia/Waratahs) - £572 000
10 = Stuart Hogg (Scotland/Exeter Chiefs) - £550‚000
Manu Tuilagi (England/Leicester Tigers) - £550‚000