This article looks at the salaries of rugby players at Toulon 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 RC Toulonnais.
However, the French regulators publish general statistics on pay. We can make reasonable estimates on averages and salary ranges within the Toulon rugby club.
How Do Toulon Rugby Players Get Paid?
Before we examine the figures, let’s look at how players are 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
- Sponsorships and brand advertising (independent of the club)
- International match fees (these are not paid by the club)
The Toulon rugby club pays monthly salaries and win bonuses 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).
Sponsorships and brand deals
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.
If you drive through the region, you may see images of lesser-known players promoting local businesses.
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 Toulon Rugby Player?
The average salary for Toulon 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 Toulon 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 Toulon Rugby Players?
Toulon Rugby’s highest-paid player in recent years is Eben Etzebeth. The South African lock’s contract is reputed to be over one million euros per year.
This makes him one of the top paid players in all of France.
There are a few other players in French clubs that break the one million mark. If you’re curious, check out our general overview of how much rugby players earn in France.
Other players in the higher salary range
We’ve given you the average salary at the club. 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 Toulon pay a premium to their giant Springbok lock.
Louis Carbonel is at the start of his career as a fly-half. So, don’t expect him to be at the top of the range. However, he is picking up national caps for France now. This gives him a strong hand when negotiating his next contract.
Notice how centres are at the top end? We’ve already mentioned Vakatawa. But we also expect that Gael Fickou joined Toulon Rugby at a high pay rate.
Winger Cheslin Kolbe was considered to be on about €588K per year when he was at Toulouse. Toulon may have lured him away with a higher offer.
Top 14 Salary Cap
Clubs in the Top 14 are not allowed to exceed an agreed cap on the total salaries for their squad.
Toulon Rugby 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.
Businessman Bernard Lemaitre is the majority owner of Toulon Rugby, having replaced millionaire Mourad Boudjellal. Lemaitre’s backing will help the club fund the annual wage bill.
How Does This Compare To Club Players In Other Countries?
Check out these overviews: