This article looks at the salaries of professional players with Glasgow Rugby.
Individual salaries are private contracts and the exact figures are rarely made public by the club.
However, recent interviews with former officials and players have shed light on the salary ranges in Scottish clubs.
How Do Glasgow Rugby Players Get Paid?
Let’s break down how Glasgow Rugby players are paid. The full salary is made up of several income streams:
- Monthly wages and bonuses from Glasgow Rugby
- Image rights and brand deals
- Scottish test match fees (and a pay rise for first test cap)
- Playing for the British & Irish Lions (selected players are on a higher pay range)
Players or their agents can negotiate brand deals and endorsements from external companies. These vary widely across players and we won’t go into this aspect of income.
This article is about salaries and fees paid by the Glaswegian club and by Scotland.
Have Covid Restrictions Impacted Salaries?
The 2020/21 Premiership season was curtailed due to Covid restrictions.
With attendances restricted, club income from gate receipts was severely impacted. And as the season was cut short, the TV money was also down.
The Scottish Rugby Union negotiated salary reductions with Rugby Players Scotland (RPS) in 2020.
Academy players and younger players on their first contracts were excluded. The pay cuts hit players earning above £50K.
Senior players took a 25% cut in salary. This article uses the averages and reported salaries of more normal times.
What Is The Average Salary Of A Glasgow Rugby Player?
The average salary for Glasgow Rugby players is about £140K for senior players.
A small number of senior players earn at the top range of £250-290K.
Younger players in their early years with the club earn about £40-55K.
Academy players earn from £5-11K on semi-professional contracts.
Players get an automatic pay rise when they get their first international cap for Scotland. This is reputedly about 10% of their current contract.
If a player tours with the British and Irish Lions, he also gets a premium addition to his contract.
When academy players reach Stage 3 of the Scottish Academy program, they are assigned to one of the two professional clubs.
Players in the Glasgow and Caledonia regions are assigned to Glasgow Rugby but are not on a full professional contract. These young players continue to play in the Scottish semi-professional league.
The sources for our estimated figures are a combination of:
- newspaper reports (top earner round-ups etc.)
- Scottish Rugby Union annual financial reports
- Interviews with former players and officials
Jan McGinity revealed many interesting details in a recent interview. He has worked for Scottish Rugby, Worcester Warriors, and Leicester Tigers.
“Those top Scottish players are well remunerated… I was surprised to see how well-paid some guys were when I went through the books. They would be on similar money in the Premiership.”Jan McGinity (source is behind a paywall)
Glasgow Has Lost Its Former Top Earners
You may have seen some eye-watering figures for ex-Glasgow players like Huw Jones, Finn Russell, and Stuart Hogg.
When Hogg was with Glasgow, he was reportedly the highest-paid rugby player in Scotland on about £375K per year.
Hogg moved to a club in the England Premiership. Check out this article on how much players earn at Exeter Chiefs.
Finn Russell was reportedly on a lower salary at Glasgow, but still above £300K. Russell moved on to France for some very big bucks indeed. Check out how much players earn at Racing 92.
Huw Jones was the poor relation, with a reputed salary of about £230K back in 2019. Like Hogg, he moved to the Premiership. Check out how much Harlequins players earn.
However, the top-end salaries have reduced in recent years and only a handful of players receive the highest wages.
Seven players in Scotland were on salaries above £200K in the 2019/20 season. That dropped to five players in 2020/2021.
With two professional clubs, we can reasonably say that Glasgow has two players at the highest level.
But who are they? Let’s look at that next.
Who Are The Highest Paid Glasgow Rugby Players?
Esportif publishes statistics for which positions earn the most in the PRO 14 (now the URC).
This goes from top earners to lowest.
- #1 outhalf
- #2 locks
- #3 tight head prop
- #4 fullback
- #5 wings
- #6 blind side flanker
- #7 number eight
- #8 scrum half
- #9 outside center
- #10 inside center
- #11 loose head prop
- #12 openside flanker
- #13 hooker
Duncan Weir may not be the top fly half for Scotland, but his many years of experience will push him into the upper range.
Scott Cummings and Richie Gray are two locks on the upper end.
Zander Fagerson is a tighthead prop who commands a high salary. When he was called up to tour with the Lions to South Africa, he was in line for a pay rise.
Ali Price joined Fagerson on the Lions tour and is a seasoned international. We expect his salary at Glasgow to buck the trend of scrum halves being in the bottom half of URC payment.
How Much Do Glasgow Rugby Players Get For Playing For Scotland?
Scottish players get about £6,000 in match fees when they play test rugby.
They are also in line for significant bonuses if they win a Six Nations championship (or a Grand Slam). However, Scotland hasn’t hit those heights in recent years.
There was a bit of grumbling from the players in 2019 when they learned how much English rugby players were earning. Their southern counterparts receive about £23K.
However, the SRU could point out that Irish rugby internationals get match fees of about £7K.
Similarly, Wales pay their rugby internationals a similar amount per match.
How Much Do Glasgow Players Get On A Lions Tour?
The British and Irish Lions come around every four years and can be a nice top-up to the usual salary.
Ali Price and Zander Fagerson were selected for the tour to South Africa in 2021.
The duo picked up a payment of £75,000.
If they had won the 2021 series, they would have received an extra £10K as a win bonus. Unfortunately, the Lions management didn’t have to pay out that bonus!
What About Other Clubs In The URC?
How does Glasgow compare to other clubs in the URC? Check these articles out.
- Cardiff rugby player salaries
- Ospreys player salaries
- Dragons rugby player salaries
- Scarlets player salaries