Huge salaries lure SA’s top players overseas

2014-06-12 00:00

PLAYERS signed to play club rugby in France and Japan can earn astronomical salaries. This is what several top sport agents told sister paper Beeld, adding this is why so many players are plying their trade overseas.

Frans Steyn, who withdrew himself from the Springbok squad this week to reconsider his priorities in his international career, likely earned between R8 million and R9 million a year while playing for the French club Racing Metro.

By comparison, Springbok players who sign contracts with the South African Rugby Union (Saru), and who fall in the top category, can only earn between R1 million and R2 million a year.

A local agent, who wanted to remain anonymous, said a handful of players could earn R3 million a year playing for local clubs in South Africa.

“The guys earn astronomical amounts overseas. On top of this, players in French rugby clubs get housing and transport allowances. The advantages for a player to go to France are irresistible.”

While the percentage of overseas players who may run out for French club teams is being reduced, overseas players become naturalised French citizens after they have played for longer than three years in France.

“This means French clubs can now contract more and more players from South Africa,” one agent said.

In Japan, players can earn between R5 million and R8  million a year.

The Japanese rugby season is also shorter than the Super and Currie Cup series, which lessens the risk of players suffering a career-ending injury.

Japanese clubs are owned by private companies, who expect from their players to give motivational speeches to their staff and meet with company clients.

“It is a lot more of a business in Japan. The season is shorter and not as physical as the Super Series,” said one agent.

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