This article reviews current salaries of Brumbies players in Super Rugby.
Individual salaries are private contracts that are seldom made public by the Canberra franchise or Rugby Australia (RA).
However, recent years have seen several renegotiations of salary levels between RA, the Australian franchises, and the players union. That has made player earnings a lot clearer.
How Do Brumbies Players Get Paid?
Before we consider the numbers, let’s take a look at how the players are paid. It’s not just through club wages.
Salaries can be made up of several income streams (not all players benefit from all streams):
- Monthly salary from the club
- Brand deals and advertising
- Top-ups from playing test rugby with the Wallabies
- Top-ups from approved third party donors
Brand deals and advertising
Brand deals can be worth very different amounts across players. Image rights may be paid by third parties who want to use player photos in their advertising.
This varies from national brands (e.g. sports and retail) to local firms.
If you travel through the hometowns of Brumbies players, you’ll probably see them in local advertising. Of course, this isn’t going to be for big dollars.
Who pays the players?
Brumbies Rugby pays monthly salaries to their Super Rugby squad and the development squad.
Players selected for the Wallabies are paid a top-up per test.
Rugby Australia (RA) also allows third parties to fund top-ups to star players. RA must be informed of sponsorships and give approval.
It’s rumored that this arrangement was put in place for young flyhalf Reesjan Pasitoa. However, he has since left the club.
How Have Covid Restrictions Impacted Salaries?
The 2020/21 domestic season was shortened due to Covid restrictions.
Match attendances were also curtailed and the drop in gate receipts hit franchise incomes. TV revenue was also reduced due to fewer matches.
The finances of Rugby Australia weren’t helped by having to pay off their legal settlement to Israel Folau.
The association that represents Brumbies players along with the other Australian franchises entered into protracted negotiations with Rugby Australia.
In the first negotiated deal in 2020, players took an average pay cut of sixty percent. This was weighted towards the higher earners who took a bigger cut.
Later that year, the second deal involved a 30% pay cut across the board.
These cuts were eventually lifted – first for Wallabies players, and a few months later for all Super Rugby players.
Interestingly, the figures that came out from these negotiations give us a good idea of how much players are paid in normal times.
During the negotiations in 2020 between Rugby Australia and the Australian players union, it was reported that the Brumbies paid full wages of $500K to the squad.
With 35 players in the squad, that represents an average annual salary of $171,428 per player.
What Is The Average Salary Of A Brumbies Player?
The average salaries of Brumbies players are determined in part by the Salary Cap imposed on all Australian franchises in Super Rugby.
The Salary Cap is negotiated by Rugby Australia, the Australian players union, and the franchises.
The current salary cap is A$5.5 million.
Although the Brumbies have about eighteen players in their development program, these wages aren’t included in the total salary cap.
As there are 35 Super Rugby players in the Brumbies squad, we can calculate the current average salary of A$157K. But this is a little misleading.
Young players on their first international contract earn well below that average. This means that the senior players earn above the amount.
The top-ups for playing for the Wallabies are also not included in the salary cap.
How much do Brumbies rugby players earn?
Senior Brumbies players who aren’t in the national squad earn about A$225K per year.
Brumbies who are current Wallabies receive a top-up of about A$120K.
Young players earn between A$40-A$70K in their first professional contract.
Development players earn from A$5-10K with expenses.
As I mentioned in an earlier section, the well-known senior players can also garner endorsements and image licensing from third-party brands.
That can top up annual earnings by ten to forty thousand dollars.
Who Are The Highest Paid Brumbies Players?
The Sydney Morning Herald reported in 2020 that the four highest-earning players in Australia were Michael Hooper, Kurtley Beale, Matt Toomua, and Dane Haylett-Petty.
The unfortunate Haylett-Petty had to retire from the sport in 2021.
Brumbies fans will know that none of these players were with their franchise.
James Slipper is the highest-profile player at the Brumbies. Slipper was reportedly on A$500K at the Reds in 2020. However, he came to the Brumbies under a disciplinary cloud and undoubtedly accepted a significant pay cut.
Higher than average salaries
A European sporting agency publishes statistics for which positions earn the most in the England Premiership, the French Top 14, and the URC (clubs from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy, and South Africa).
I haven’t seen a similar list for Super Rugby, but I expect a similar valuation by Australian franchises.
- #1 outhalf
- #2 fullback
- #3 locks
- #4 tight head prop
- #5 scrumhalf
- #6 centres
- #7 wings
- #8 number eight
- #9 flankers
- #10 loose head prop
- #11 hooker
Nobody will be surprised that the number 10 is the most valued. However, Noah Lolesio is still learning his trade at the top level. If he puts in a strong season, we expect him to negotiate a top-end contract in the next few years.
Scrumhalves are less valued, but a highly experienced player like Nic White will be one of the higher-paid players in the Brumbies squad.
Now consider that locks are highly valued in Europe. Darcy Swain is still a young player and is probably at the lower end of the scale.
But Swain was recently called into the Wallabies squad. The young man can expect a decent upgrade in his next contract negotiations.
How Much Do Brumbies Get For Playing For The Wallabies?
Test match fees are about €10K and the Wallabies play about 12 times a year.
That totals up to a nice $120K for regular picks for the Wallabies. There are also significant win bonuses.
You can get more details in our article on how much Australian rugby players are paid.
Other Super Rugby Franchises
Interested in other Australian franchises? Due to the salary cap, the average wages tend to be similar. However, the top earners and their packages are very different.
Check out these articles:
- How much do Western Force players earn?
- How much do Melbourne Rebels players earn?
- How much do Queensland Reds players earn?
- How much do ASW Waratahs players earn?
New Zealand franchises
And what about the neighbors? Check out these articles: