This article looks at the salaries of Saracens rugby players in the English Premiership.
It’s true that individual salaries are private contracts and the details are rarely put into the public domain by the club. However, leaks happen (we’ve gathered them all).
Aside from leaks, several companies associated with player agents regularly publish average salaries across the Premiership. This lets us estimate the wage ranges within a club.
We can also identify the highest earners. Let’s get into it!
How Do Saracens Players Get Paid?
Before we crunch the numbers, let’s review the different ways that players get paid. It’s not just through club wages.
Their entire income come from several sources (but perhaps not all the ones listed below):
- Monthly club wage
- Win bonuses from the club
- Brand deals, endorsements, and sponsorships
- Image rights
- International matches (payment by England RFU or other Unions)
- British & Irish Lions
Saracens pay the monthly salary and bonuses for each player.
Endorsements and brand deals from outside companies are worth very different amounts across players, so I won’t go into these.
This article focuses on wages paid by Saracens Rugby and by England.
Image rights and brand advertising
Image rights may be paid by companies for the use of player images in their advertising campaigns.
This varies from huge brands (e.g. sports retailers) to local businesses. If you live near the Saracens’ home grounds, you may see the faces of lesser-known players on local billboards.
Senior players retain specialist agents to negotiate endorsements with third parties.
Young players usually start off with a relative (e.g. their father) acting as their agent.
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.
All the Saracens players agreed to take a 25% reduction in pay. The club then negotiated with the highest-paid players to take further reductions.
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 Saracens Rugby Player?
The average salary for Saracens rugby players is about £120K for senior players.
Young Saracens 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 Saracens Rugby 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. And Saracens are known for big contracts. After all, they were fined and relegated for breaching the agreed salary cap!
Saracens’ highest-paid player in recent years is England forward Maro Itoje. His contract is reportedly at least £800,000 per year.
Flyhalf Owen Farrell is said to earn a little less at about £750K.
Premiership clubs can nominate these two marquee players to exclude their salaries from the total that must be kept under a capped amount. I’ll discuss that in the next section.
Other players in the higher salary range
Given that the salary range for senior players is from £70K to £140K, who else is at the top of this 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
- Number eight
The positions of flyhalves and locks are the most valued across the Premiership. We’ve already seen how Farrell and Itojo are the most highly paid at Saracens.
Centre Elliot Daly and fullback Liam Williams are on the upper end of the non-marquee players. Welsh newspapers reported the Williams was on a salary of about £300K.
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.
Saracens usually have several players in the 23-man matchday squad. Maro Itoje is a fixture in the side.
How Much Do Saracens Players Get When 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 Saracens Rugby youngster has joined an England training camp, don’t assume that they’re getting an immediate bump in income.
If you want a more detailed review, read our article on the fees that England rugby players earn when playing for their country. 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.
Saracens supplied six players to the Lions tour to South Africa who received a top-up to their income in 2021:
- Elliot Daly
- Owen Farrell
- Jamie George
- Maro Itoje
- Mako Vunipola
- Liam Williams
If the Lions had won the series in South Africa, the super six would have received a £10,000 bonus. Unfortunately, they arrived back at the club without the extras!
How Do Saracens RFC 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.
Saracens RFC is owned by several wealthy shareholders who have invested funds into the club. You can read more in our article on who owns Saracens.