Get Newsletter

Top highest paid female teams

We take a look at the highest paid female rugby players in the world.


Female rugby players are not earning anywhere near what their male counterparts do. However, with other sources of income, like sponsorships and endorsement deals, top international players can top up their national contracts and make a decent living from playing rugby

The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) confirmed in 2022 that they would offer in excess of 30 professional contracts to the 15s national squad players in a four-year strategy and that in the first year would invest an additional £2.5 million (€2.97 million) at both elite and grassroots level to increase numbers and visibility.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) confirmed 40-plus professional contracts for members of the Ireland women’s 15s and Sevens national squads. Only Sevens players have been previously contracted.

It represents the first time that the Union will offer professional contracts to some of the Ireland women’s 15s squad – the senior players in the Irish women’s Sevens squad are on contracts of €18,000 – and follows on from similar undertakings given by the Welsh and Scottish rugby unions and the Italian Rugby Federation earlier this year.

In remuneration terms there are likely to be several bands, with a figure of €30,000 at the upper end of the payment scale. The terms and conditions of contracts will have to be flexible to facilitate the diverse nature in terms of squad composition.

A select number of Wales Women rugby internationals will finally be able to call themselves professional in just a matter of months, with contracts currently being drawn up.


The Welsh Rugby Union announced that Wales Women players would be offered contracts for the first time, with 10 fully professional deals on the table, plus up to 15 “retainer” contracts – effectively semi-professional – all on 12-month deals taking effect from January 2022.

On top of this, there will be match fees for match day 23 squad players for the first time and, for those players who do not fit into the top two contract levels, there will also be World Cup selection and training camp attendance payments.

It all comes under the umbrella of the WRU’s £2million annual budget for the performance side of women’s rugby in Wales – the highest it has ever been.

While WRU performance director Nigel Walker would not be drawn on the specific value of the contracts, we do know they will be below the £25,000 salary mark.


The Telegraph, meanwhile, reports that each of the 10 full-time contracts are worth around £19,000, while the retainers are worth around £7,500.

In comparison to the best teams in the world, Walker said contracts for England Women – ranked the best side in the world and have 28 contracted players after initially offering contracts in 2016 – are put at around £30,000, understood to be for a number of players rather than all, with New Zealand‘s Black Ferns and semi-professional France at around £25,000, although some of those players will also have other jobs.

The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) announced in April that they will centrally contract 25 players with the aim of supporting the professional activity of Italy’s best female players on a semi-professional basis, rewarding them financially for a commitment to periods of 80-130 days with the national team per year. The central contracts replaced the scholarship project developed for the national team from December 2020.

Professional female rugby players with the New Zealand national team are on salaries that range from $60K to $130K (NZ dollars).

The Black Ferns are also paid assembly fees that amount to about $20K in a World Cup year and they also receive medical insurance and pension funds.

The NZRFU (New Zealand Rugby Football Union) divides the Black Ferns into four payment tiers depending on experience and performance on the field.

Young players on their first contract are at the lowest Tier 4 level of $60K. The experienced stars are on the top Tier 1.

Rugby bosses have defended the lack of a bonus pot for the Black Ferns at the Rugby World Cup, outlining a pay structure that puts female players in Aotearoa at the top of the scale globally.

UK-based reports emerged recently that suggested England’s women are in line to pocket $30,000 each as a bonus for winning the Rugby World Cup.

However, NZRPA chief executive Rob Nichol reportedly told that, even with a bonus factored in, the pay for England’s women couldn’t compete with the deal struck for the Black Ferns.

“The Black Ferns 15s model sees some 40-odd contracted players earning remuneration packages of between $70k and $130k plus as well. These remuneration levels are commensurate with [men’s] Super Rugby wider squad and draft players.

“To give some context, based on the media reports this is above what the English women’s players would earn in a 12-month period, even factoring in any bonus payments they earn at the Rugby World Cup.”

The Black Ferns’ pay was significantly boosted earlier this year as part of a shift to professionalism in the women’s game.

While only a select few earn the top amount of more than $130,000, the minimum contracts of about $70,000 are arguably more significant.

The Black Ferns’ pay package is still dwarfed by the remuneration for the All Blacks, but it hasn’t escaped the attention of other nations at the Rugby World Cup.

Nichol said Black Ferns players also enjoyed a range of benefits across the 15s game and Sevens.

“Our Black Ferns Sevens contracting structure is the same as the All Black Sevens contracting structure with players earning annual remuneration packages of between $70k and $130k plus per year, he said.

New Zealand Rugby said the lack of a bonus scheme was offset by a “significant increase” in assembly fees, payments earned by the Black Ferns when they are in camp.

Injured players are also understood to be eligible for about 80 per cent of those fees.

‘The Black Ferns memorandum of understanding doesn’t specifically provide for a Rugby World Cup bonus payment, but New Zealand Rugby have made a significant investment in the team’s campaign, including transitioning our professional women’s players to a full-time employment model for the first time in 2022,” said Chris Lendrum, NZ Rugby general manager professional rugby and performance.

”…Our annual investment in player salaries is now nearly $2 million and there has been a significant increase in annual assembly fees since the 2017 Rugby World Cup.”

The Australian women’s 15-a-side rugby team, the Wallaroos, will also receive payments for test matches, or international matches, for the first time as compensation for taking time out from their day jobs and family responsibilities.

As interest in women’s sports grows globally, more people are questioning the huge disparity in pay and treatment between male and female athletes.

It seems these are the only female rugby teams that are currently earning a salary as rugby players. We could not find any other information regarding any other teams and the remunerations they receive.


Write A Comment