14 July 2015
While you were out playing this weekend, the world's top international rugby stars were out working - no doubt to earn the kind of money that keeps them in the list of top 10 earners. Last week we started you out with the list of the rugby world's wealthiest athletes, so this week we're finishing the job. Did you guess the number 1 on our list correctly? Scroll down the page to find out.
Jonathon (or Johnny) Sexton got his big break in Rugby Union by replacing an injured teammate in Dublin's 2009 Heineken Cup. Felipe Contepomi's loss was Sexton's gain as this Irish flyhalf made the most of his lucky opportunity, going on to lead Leinster to the finals. Sexton repeated this winning feat in the 2011 Six Nations Tournament, as he helped Ireland reign supreme over England with a 24-8 victory in the final match.
If you're looking for a versatile rugby player, you won't do much better than Sam Burgess - the only Rugby League and Rugby Union player on the list. Burgess made his Super League debut at the age of 18, before signing with Australian Rugby League Squad, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, at just 21. Owned by Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, the Rabbitohs were home to Burgess for four years, before he eventually parted way with them at season's end, to move to Rugby Union club Bath.
Another Welsh rugby player, Stephen Leigh Halfpenny has been blazing a trail through the world of rugby ever since he was first signed at the age of 16. Since then he has gone on to play 87 matches and score 598 points for the Cardiff Blues, making him one of rugby's most sought-after players - a fact borne out by his recent transfer to French team Toulon for the massive sum of £600,000, officially making him the biggest earning Welsh player in the history of the game.
As the son of retired Australian Rugby League player, Ron Giteau, Matt Giteau is part of a legacy of rugby, one begun with Canberra's ACT Brumbies at the age of 19, before being called to the Australian national rugby side just one short year later. Today Giteau plays for French side, RC Toulon, keeping opponents at bay, and keeping the name of Giteau synonymous with quality rugby.
If you guessed Dan Carter as rugby's top earner, you'd be right - that's because with a salary of £1 million, Carter is far and away the highest-paid player in the game today. A Rugby Union player from New Zealand, Carter plays for both the Canterbury Crusaders and New Zealand's national team, the All Blacks. Carter's achievements are too numerous to mention, but memorable moments such as his world record test points scored, four Super Rugby titles with the Christchurch Crusaders, and his title of International Rugby Board player of the year in both 2005 and 2012 more than justify his position at number one.
We wouldn't mind making a million pounds for running up and down a field throwing a ball backwards - but something tells us there's a little more skill involved, and a little more effort than simply switching between rugby games with the remote. So for now we'll leave the game to the professionals, who more than earn their giant salaries every weekend, and we'll play for giant lottos instead!
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