Why are the best not earning more?
The top 10 richest players were recently unveiled, but are those 10 players the best in the world?
A rugby365 reader made the comment that out of those 10 richest players you would struggle to place many of them as the 10 best players in the world.
Top 10 richest rugby players:
1. Dan Carter
2. Matt Giteau
3. Leigh Halfpenny
4. Sam Burgess
5. Johnny Sexton
6. Bryan Habana
7. Morgan Parra
8. Thierry Dusautoir
9. Jamie Roberts
10. Bakkies Botha
In my humblest of opinions, I would have Johnny Sexton and Jamie Roberts (on recent form) in the World's Top 10 out of this list, I don't even think Burgess is the best player in Bath, let alone the world.
There is clearly a trend in this list; easily five out of 10 of them are legends of the game, but they are now legends past.
Dan Carter, Matt Giteau, Thierry Dusautoir, Bakkies Botha and even Bryan Habana are starting to get a bit long in the tooth and while it may be argued that they are playing some brilliant rugby – they are not the worlds best at the moment.
Then why is it that the best players are not earning top dollar? (or Pound, Euro or Yen).
Players like All Blacks Kieran Read, Julien Savea, Brodie Retallick, Springboks Duane Vermeulen and Willie le Roux, Wallabies Israel Folau and Michael Hooper all deserve to be paid out for their incredible talent – yet they remain down South playing in arguably tougher tournaments (Super Rugby, Currie Cup and NPC) and demanding internationals – for less money.
What really struck home for me is the example of Willie le Roux, (detractors of the man may disagree but… ) he is incredibly talented and yet he remains with the cash-strapped Cheetahs after he was bought from Boland to Griquas (and then Cheetahs) for peanuts.
Obviously Le Roux is bound by a contract but with the amount of money being thrown around in France, England and Japan a contract is as flimsy as the paper it is written on nowadays.
There is no doubting that if a player like Le Roux made his intention to play for Racing Metro or Toulon they would have a contract of their own drawn up in a matter of minutes.
I like to believe that what is keeping these colossuses of the game put is good old fashion pride for Club and Country.
It is easy to get pessimistic when looking at that list and noting that only two of them ply their trade in the homeland (Parra and Dusautoir)(You could make an argument for Burgess, but he is a special case).
But by looking deeper into it, the list shows legends going into retirement, they have nothing to prove and deserve a pay day.
They are also highly sought by these big spending clubs not only for their skill but because of their presence and their character – men like Dan Carter and Bryan Habana are going to have an influence on your team beyond their personal game.
For the younger men, who are at their peak, they show a willingness to surge forward and prove beyond any doubt that they are the best on the international stage and that is a comforting thought at least.