This article looks at the salaries of Super Rugby players at the Auckland Blues.
It’s true that individual salaries are private contracts. However, the general salary ranges are made public by New Zealand Rugby.
In addition, some details often trickle out about the star players at the franchise. We take a close look at two marquee backs: Beauden Barrett and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
How Do Auckland Blues Players Get Paid?
Before we get into average and top salaries, let’s take a look at how the Blues get paid.
New Zealand is different from many other countries where the clubs foot the wage bill for players.
In contrast, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) employs and pays the salaries of Super Rugby players. They contract out the players to the Auckland Blues roster.
There isn’t a single wage level for players. NZR negotiates pay rates with each player or their agent.
However, we know the approximate ranges which I’ll get into in a later section.
Brand deals and advertising
Brand deals and image rights are worth very different amounts across players.
Some work with national brands e.g. the big sports or retail companies.
However, there are other opportunities for lesser-known players who haven’t made the All Blacks. If you travel through the region, you’ll probably see local players in local advertising.
Of course, this isn’t going to be for big dollars, but it’s very welcome for those players at the lower end of the salary range.
The Auckland franchise is allowed to seek extra funding or individual players from third parties. Every deal must be approved by NZR.
These third parties are usually businesses in the region that want to be associated with star players.
At least two Auckland stars get the benefit of these top-ups. We’ll review the numbers in a later section.
What makes up a Blues player’s salary?
Their entire salary can be made up of several income streams. These must all be reported to the NZR to ensure that salary caps aren’t being exceeded by franchises.
- Monthly wage from New Zealand Rugby
- Win bonuses and some expenses from the Auckland Blues franchise*
- Image rights and endorsements
- International tests with the All Blacks
- Third-party top-ups (only a few)
(*) Additional payments from the franchise must be kept within the national salary cap that governs the five New Zealand Super Rugby teams.
How Much Do Auckland Blues Players Earn?
Players in the Auckland Blues squad for Super Rugby earn a minimum of NZ$75K to a maximum of NZ$195K.
Star players can earn an additional NZ$200-300K with approved third-party funding.
The Blues can also draft injury cover players who earn about $52K per season.
Individual salaries are negotiated with New Zealand Rugby who employs the players and contracts them to their clubs.
Young players on their first Blues contract will earn at least $75K, which is the bottom of the scale.
This will rise over the years. The players at the top end are experienced players who have been in and out of All Blacks squads
As players approach the end of their careers, their salaries may drop towards the middle of the range. This can lead to them seeking a move to another franchise, or overseas.
If a player is drafted in from a regional club as injury cover, they are paid a weekly wage of about NZ$1,800 for the duration.
A full season amounts to about $52K but the player may not be required for that length of time.
Don’t be shocked if you hear someone mention that they work with a Blues player who you see on the bench for a Super Rugby match. That’s probably a draft player who has a “real” job as their second income.
Dan Carter on $52K
Dan Carter is probably the most famous draft player at the Auckland Blues…or anywhere else. The legend came out of retirement in 2020 to act as injury cover with the Blues.
His draft rate was the same as anybody else i.e. NZ$1,800 per week.
Of course, Carter didn’t need the money. He was bored stuck at home and wanted to help pass on his knowledge to the Blues squad.
Who Is The Highest Paid Auckland Blues Player?
The Blues have two stars that are amongst the highest-paid players in the country – let alone the Auckland franchise.
Barrett’s star may have waned for a while, but class pulls through. The flyhalf could command a premium wage when he returned from a lucrative overseas stint in Japan.
Barrett’s two-year contract with New Zealand Rugby is reputedly just over NZ$1M per season.
This package includes significant amounts of third-party funding.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was reportedly earning the equivalent of nearly NZ$1.2M in Australian dollars when he was lighting up the NRL.
He has switched codes to join the Auckland Blues in 2022.
Tuivasa-Sheck’s current contract is reported as about NZ$400K.
The reason this is considerably lower than Barrett is that Tuivasa-Sheck is not yet an established All Black.
If he gets a season of international tests under his belt, his contract could double as he heads into the World Cup season.
How Much Do Auckland All Blacks Earn?
When an Auckland player is called up to the All Blacks, they get a weekly fee for the tour or competition.
You can get the monetary details in our article on All Black and New Zealand rugby salaries. You may be surprised how low it is compared to England!
How Does Auckland Compare To Other Super Rugby Franchises?
We’ll start with the other New Zealand franchises and then look across at the neighbors.
New Zealand franchises
The average salaries are similar across the New Zealand franchises. However, salaries for the stars can vary widely.
You’ll find details in these articles:
- How much do Chiefs rugby players earn?
- How much do Crusaders rugby players earn?
- How much do Highlanders rugby players earn?
- How much do Hurricanes rugby players earn?
Due to the salary cap in Australia, the average wages of Australian rugby players tend to be similar.
However, the top earners at each franchise and their packages are very different. Check out these articles for details about stars at the clubs:
- How much do Brumbies players earn?
- How much do Melbourne Rebels players earn?
- How much do Queensland Reds players earn?
- How much do ASW Waratahs players earn?
- How much do Western Force players earn?
How Does Auckland Compare To Other Countries?
The Auckland Blues have lost many good players to overseas clubs. Check out these articles about the salary levels overseas:
- How much do players earn in England?
- How much do players earn in France?
- How much do players earn in Ireland?
If you’re interested in a particular club, you’ll find a link to a detailed article in the above articles.