This article looks at the salaries of rugby players at Racing 92 in the French Top 14. We also identify the highest earners at the club.
Of course, individual salaries at rugby clubs are private contracts. The details are rarely made public by the club.
However, the French regulators publish general statistics on pay. We can make reasonable estimates on averages and salary ranges within Racing 92.
How Do Racing 92 Rugby Players Get Paid?
Before we get into the numbers, let’s review how the players get paid. It’s not just through club wages.
Their entire salary can be made up of several income streams:
- Monthly club wages
- Match win bonuses
- Brand deals and sponsorships (independent of the club)
- International match fees and win bonuses (these are not paid by the club)
Racing 92 pays monthly salaries and win bonuses for results in the Top 14.
The club can give players up to 10% of their salaries in total bonuses without the amounts being counted toward the French salary cap (more on this later).
Brand deals and sponsorships
Securing brand deals and sponsorships can be worth very different amounts across players. So I won’t go into these in detail.
Image licensing may be paid by companies who want to use player photos in their advertising. This varies from huge brands (e.g. sporting gear or aftershave) to local retail stores.
How Have Covid Restrictions Impacted Salaries?
The 2020/21 season was shortened for all French rugby competitions due to Covid restrictions. Match attendances were also reduced.
TV revenue took a dive due to the shorter season. The drop in gate receipts also hit club income.
The French clubs sat down with their players to discuss the impact of a lower salary cap.
This article uses the averages and reported salaries of more normal times. You can mentally reduce the figures in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic.
What Is The Average Salary Of A Racing 92 Player?
The average salary for Racing 92 rugby players is about €240K per annum for senior players. Star players earn significantly more.
Academy players on junior contracts earn about €16K. Their first senior contract jumps to €60K. This will double within the next few years of their career.
Academy players in their first year with Racing 92 must also attend educational courses. This includes French language courses for young overseas players.
These are average salaries but some senior players are on significantly higher amounts. You’ll see this in the next section.
However, clubs must keep their budget within the agreed salary cap for the competition.
Who Are The Highest Paid Racing 92 Rugby Players?
Racing 92’s highest-paid player in recent years is Finn Russell. The Scottish fly-half’s contract is reputed to be about one million euros per year.
This makes him one of the top paid players in all of France. He joins Montpellier fly-half Handre Pollard in breaking that million euro barrier.
If you’re curious about star players in other clubs, check out our article on how much rugby players get paid in France.
Centre Virimi Vakatawa signed a contract with Racing 92 that is reported to be about €918K per annum. This would make him the next highest player at the club.
Other players in the higher salary range
We’ve given you the average. But there will be players at the top and bottom of a range of different salaries.
Esportif publishes statistics for which positions earn the most in the Top 14. These are the top six rankings ordered from high to low:
- tighthead prop
- outside centre
- number eight
- outside centre
We’ve already seen that Racing 92 pay a premium to their fly-half.
Notice how centres are at the top end? We’ve already mentioned Vakatawa. But we also expect that Gael Fickou joined Racing 92 at a high pay rate.
Georges-Henri Colombe is a young tighthead prop who has recently picked up international caps for France. This gives him a strong hand when negotiating his next contract.
We expect that lock Bernard Le Roux is also above the average for senior players.
But winger Teddy Thomas may not be paid as highly as you think. The position is generally at the lower end of the salary range across French clubs.
Top 14 Salary Cap
Clubs in the Top 14 are not allowed to exceed an agreed cap on the total salaries for their squad.
Racing 92 usually has several players in the French national squad. The club gets an extra €200K added to their cap for each player.
The junior contracts of academy players aren’t counted in the cap.
How Does The Club Afford High Salaries?
You may be wondering if the gate receipts are enough to cover these types of salaries. The answer is that they’re not.
Billionaire Jacky Lorenzetti is the majority owner of Racing 92. His backing helps the club fund the annual wage bill.
How Does This Compare To Club Players In Other Countries?
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