The world's top 10 highest paid rugby players

With all the talk around cashed-up French clubs swooping for our best and brightest stars, it begs the question, who rounds out the world's top 10 highest paid rugby players?

Some may surprise you.

10 - Manu Tuilagi/Leicester Tigers - NZ$790,300 (€540,000) per season

Signing a three year deal with the Tigers in the English top tier at the end of 2015, Tuilagi has been plagued by injury and at times struggled to string more than a handful of matches together.

The world's top 10 highest paid rugby players

9 - Bryan Habana/Toulon - NZ$834,200 per season (€570,000) per season

Signing a four-year deal to play for glamour club Toulon in France's Top 14 since leaving Super Rugby's Stormers in 2013, Habana has justified his high price tage with 15 tries across 43 appearances.

8 - Charles Piutau/Ulster - NZ$878,100 (€600,000) per season

He cut his All Black career short in 2015 to head to top tier England club Wasps where he scored eight tries across 23 appearances. Piutau was lured to Ulster in 2016 with a club record fee in a two-year deal.

The world's top 10 highest paid rugby players

7 - Johnny Sexton/Leinster - NZ$880,000 (€600,000) per season

The five-eighth is one of the country's best players and unsurprisingly is Ireland's highest paid player after being lured back to Leinster on a four-year-deal after a stint at Racing 92 in France.

6 - Ma'a Nonu/Toulon - NZ$885,000 (€600,000) per season

Heading to France after the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Ma'a Nonu has slotted in the backline alongside some of the game's best players, Matt Giteau and Bryan Habana. Nonu originally signed a two-year-deal but is set to extend that until 2018.

The world's top 10 highest paid rugby players

5 - Leigh Halfpenny/Toulon - NZ$885,000 (€600,000) per season

One of Wales' overseas players, Halfpenny moved from the Cardiff Blues to Toulon in 2014 on a three year deal, commanding one of the highest fees in world rugby at the time. Halfpenny is also the Welsh and Lions full back.

4 - Aaron Cruden/Montpellier - NZ$1.17m (€800,000) per season

Cruden's three-year-deal with Montpellier in the Top 14 was made public in January 2017 and sees the 28-year-old become the fourth highest paid rugby player in the world.

The world's top 10 highest paid rugby players

3 - Matt Giteau/Toulon -  NZ$1.58million (€1.08 million) per season

He might be 34 years of age but Giteau still commands one of the biggest salaries in rugby. Moving to Toulon in 2011 after the World Cup, Giteau is out of contract in June and will make the move to Japan.

2 - Dan Carter/Racing 92 - NZ$2.44 (€1.67million) per season

All Blacks golden boy Dan Carter signed a three-year-deal to play with Paris club Racing Metro after the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The world's top 10 highest paid rugby players

1 - Ayumu Goromaru/Toulon - NZ$2.44 million (€1.67 million) plus add-ons per season

Having a stunning 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign at full back for Japan, Goromaru signed on to play with the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby before being involved in a player swap with Toulon's Quade Cooper. The deal is thought to be one season only.

*all figures are estimates retrieved from SA Rugby Mag

(All images courtesy of Getty)