All Blacks: Dan Carter, Sonny Bill Williams top rugby's Instagram earners worldwide

Williams and Carter.
Williams and Carter. Photo credit: Getty

New Zealand rugby stars are at the top of the list of the sport's highest-earning social media influencers, according to a recent study.

English website has reported that former All Black Dan Carter and current international Sonny Bill Williams are in a league of their own atop those rankings, comfortably occupying the top two spots with their endorsements of brands, products and services via Instagram.

Three-time World Rugby Player of the Year Carter, who now plies his trade in Japan with Kobelco Steelers, is said to earn a staggering average of NZ$7548 per Instagram post to his 910,000 followers.

Although he lost his sponsorship with Land Rover after his drink-driving conviction in France last year, Carter is still an ambassador for Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer and has appeared in a recent ad campaign for Mastercard.

Cross-code phenomenon Williams, who has more than 745,000 followers, isn’t far behind, raking in an average of $6202 per post. The Blues midfielder is backed by sportswear manufacturer's Adidas and Powerade, and is a brand ambassador for German automotive giants BMW.

Sitting in third is out-of-favour Wallabies first-five Quade Cooper ($3448), closely followed by the star of The Bachelor Australia reality Nick Cummins ($2921).

The second half of the top 10 is filled out by European and UK-based players, including retired Irish legend Brian O'Driscoll ($1807 per post), Welsh fullback Leigh Halfpenny ($1441) and England back Danny Cipriani ($1283).

Of course, those numbers pale in comparison with the globe's top earners across all sports.

According to the 2018 Instagram Rich List, Juventus football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo charges a cool $1.13 million per endorsement to his 166m followers, while Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr, who boasts 116m followers, bills at a rate of $911,580.