Taulupe Faletau signed with Bath in 2016 after seven seasons with the Dragons in Wales.
This article looks at Taulupe Faletau’s salary. We’ll examine his current rugby contract, and what factors led to his ability to negotiate his high value.
We’ll look at how he compares with teammates at his club and with the players in the same position in other Premiership clubs.
What Is Taulupe Faletau’s Current Salary?
Taulupe Faletau’s salary is currently about £475K at Bath RFC. This is four times the average Premiership salary.
Faletau extended his contract in 2020 to run up to mid-2022. He will be in the final part of his career in his next negotiation but should keep a similar wage level.
The Welsh international will be thirty-two years old, which is still a prime age for a backrow forward.
Although Faletau moved from Wales to play in the Premiership, he remains a regular choice for the Welsh international team.
Faletau has been luckier than some other backrowers when it comes to injury. He’s had a few stints on the sideline but hasn’t spent lengthy spells out of the game.
There have been several bouts of speculation that Faletau could be lured back to a Welsh club. He was linked to a return to the Dragons in 2018. The next rumour was in 2020 when it seemed that the Ospreys were making a move.
However, the skillful number eight has extended his contract twice with Bath.
How Does Faletau Compare To Other Players?
It’s worth looking at two different comparisons:
- how Faletau compares to other players at his club.
- how Faletau compares to other backrowers in England.
Let’s start with the club.
Is Taulupe Faletau the highest-paid player at Bath RFC?
Faletau joined Bath as a marquee player. This means that he was one of two possible nominees by the club for high-paid players outside the salary cap.
You can read more about the cap in our general article on salaries at Bath RFC.
We believe that Faletau is the highest-paid player at the club. The next top earners are winger Anthony Watson and centre Jonathan Joseph. Neither of these players is above £400K.
You can read more here:
How does Faletau compare to other backrowers in England?
Faletau isn’t the highest-paid backrow in the Premiership. That honor falls to former All Black Steven Luatua at the Bristol Bears.
However, the Welshman is the second highest in the league. Irishman Sean O’Brien also breaks the £400K barrier but isn’t at Faulupe’s salary level.
You can get the full details here:
Two other flankers in the Premiership earn over £200K per year. Check out these articles:
What Factors Contribute To Faletau’s High Salary?
In our overview of player earnings in English rugby, we estimate that the average salary in the Premiership is about £120K per year.
That level of pay can be expected by the many experienced players in the Premiership who never quite made it to international level.
But Faletau arrived at Bristol Bears as a marquee player who could command a much higher salary. Another factor in his salary negotiations is his wealth of experience on Lions tours.
Faletau toured with the Lions in 2013 to Australia but didn’t make the team for the first two tests. However, he started in the third test which was a comprehensive win for the touring team.
His fortunes changed on the 2017 Lions tour to New Zealand. Faletau was the first choice number eight in all three tests in the drawn series.
Zinzan Brooke, one of the great All Blacks back rows, was unenthusiastic about the Welshman before the start of the tournament.
It’s not that he isn’t a good player, he just isn’t a key player. He’s one of these guys that is pretty much good at everything, but doesn’t have that mongrel edge.Zinzan Brooke in 2017, WalesOnline
That assessment came as a surprise to most rugby fans who follow the Premiership and the Six Nations Championship. Faletau scored a pivotal try in the second test, running over the All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg in the process.
Zinzan soon changed his tune…
It’s time for me to tuck into a bit of humble pie…He’s played very well.Zinzan Brooke in 2017 (part two), WalesOnline
A lot of people were surprised that Faletau was no longer the first choice on the 2021 Lions tour to South Africa. However, Ireland’s Jack Conan put in a strong shift when starting each test.
Playing in the backrow
Position on the field is another factor that plays a major part in player salaries.
- Locks (either 4 or 5)
- Tighthead prop
- Centres (12 or 13)
- Blindside flanker
- Loosehead prop
- Openside flanker
Faletau usually plays at number eight. Specialist number eights happen to be one of the lowest-paid positions on average across the Premiership.
However, Faletau can be a game-winner with his hard running in support and off the back of a scrum. He simply bucks the salary trends!