This article looks at the salaries of Sale Sharks rugby players in the English Premiership.
You probably know that individual salaries are private contracts and the details are seldom made public by the club.
However, several companies associated with players publish annual statistics and other details.
How Do Sale Sharks Rugby Players Get Paid?
First, let’s take a look at how the players are paid. It’s not just through club wages.
Their entire salary can be made up of several income streams:
- Monthly wages from Sale Sharks rugby club
- Win bonuses for Premiership matches
- Brand deals, endorsements, and sponsorships
- Image rights
- Capped for international test rugby
- Touring with the British & Irish Lions (every four years)
Sale Sharks pick up the tab for the monthly salary and bonuses.
Brand deals and sponsorships from third parties can be worth very different amounts across players, so I won’t go into these.
This article focuses on wages paid by Sale Sharks and by the England RFU.
Image rights and brand deals
Image rights may be paid by club sponsors who want to use player photos in their advertising.
This varies from huge brands (e.g. boot brands) to local hauliers. If you live in Sale town, you may see the images of less famous players in local adverts.
Experienced players will have agents to arrange endorsements and brand deals with third parties.
Academy and other younger players often use a relative with some business experience.
How Have Covid Restrictions Impacted Salaries?
The 2020/21 Premiership season was shortened due to Covid restrictions. Match attendances were also curtailed.
TV revenue was reduced due to the shorter season. The drop in gate receipts also hit club income.
Sale Sharks players agreed to take a pay cut across the board. The club then negotiated with the highest-paid players to take further pay cuts.
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 Sale Sharks Player?
The average salary for Sale Sharks rugby players is about £120K for senior players.
Young Sale Sharks players in their first year on a full contract earn about £40K. This will double within the next few years.
Academy players earn between £15-25K depending on their academy year.
These are average salaries but the star players are on significantly higher amounts, as I show in the next section.
However, clubs must keep their whole budget underneath the agreed salary cap for the league.
Who Are The Highest Paid Sale Sharks Players?
While the average salary for players is £120K, the range for middle-ranking players is from £70K to £140K.
The marquee players can earn over £400K. But who are the marquee players?
Sale Sharks’s highest-paid player in recent years is South African scrum half Faf de Klerk. His Sale Sharks contract was reputed to be £500K per year.
England centre Manu Tuilagi is reportedly on £350K, while flanker Tom Curry is said to be on £275K.
However, a club can only have two marquee players whose salaries are excluded from the salary cap (more on this later).
So, the salary of one of these players is counted in Sale Sharks’s total wages within the cap.
Other players in the higher salary range
Given that the salary range for senior players is from £70K to £140K, who is at the top of the range?
Esportif publishes statistics for which positions earn the most in the Premiership. These are the top six:
- Fly half
- Locks (either 4 or 5)
- Outside centre
- Tighthead prop
We can expect that fly half AJ McGinty at least in the middle of that range, but the arrival of George Ford doesn’t help the Irishman’s salary negotations.
The giant Springbok lock Lood de Jager is probably above this range.
English Premiership Salary Cap
English Premiership clubs are not allowed to exceed an agreed cap on the total salaries for their squad.
Clubs get extra credits for players that they bring through from their academy to a full professional contract.
They also get credits for players who are capped by England. Sale Sharks usually has several players in the 23-man squad for the national team.
How Much Do Sale Sharks Players Get For Playing For England?
The England squad collectively agreed to a reduction in match fees during the COVID period.
In more usual times, the match fee is about £23K for players who are selected in the 23-man squad for a match.
Players don’t get paid just for being called into camp.
So if you see a promising Sale Sharks youngster has joined an England training camp, don’t assume that they’re getting an immediate bump in income.
But prop Bevan Rodd and scrum half Raffi Quirke have recently started their England career with their first caps. They will have received a nice bump in annual income with each selection in the match-day team.
If you want a more detailed review, read our article on how much money England rugby players make. It includes detailed comparisons to salaries in other countries.
What about selection for the British And Irish Lions?
The tour that comes around every four years is a good bump to a player’s salary that year. The 2021 tour paid £75K to the squad members.
This was a nice top-up for Sale Sharks player Tom Curry.
If the Lions had won the 2021 series in South Africa, Curry would have received a £10,000 bonus. Unfortunately, the backrow came home without the extras!
How Does The Sale Sharks 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.
The club shared in a one-off payment to all Premiership clubs in 2018 when they agreed to sell a minority stakeholding to the investment company CVC.
The club also has two wealthy co-owners who has invested into the coffers. You can read more in our article on who owns Sale Sharks.