A fascinating new study has revealed which are the best and worst paid positions in the Aviva Premiership and PRO14.
Renowned sports agency Esportif Intelligence who have the likes of Rory Best, Eben Etzebeth and Alun Wyn Jones on their books, have analysed the salaries of teams from both leagues to establish which positions are deemed the most and least important.
The study based on teams’ salaries from last season does not include Italy’s two teams: Benetton Treviso and Zebre.
The results which can be seen through an interesting graphic, unsurprisingly show that the outside-half position is the highest-paid one with the likes of England and Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell, Ireland and Leinster Jonathan Sexton paid top dollar.
With the second-row position highly valued as well with those in the boilerhouse ranking in third and second places respectively in both leagues. The value of the likes of Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Alun Wyn Jones clearly illustrated.
The full-back position in both leagues also rank near the top of the pay stakes with potent attackers like Stuart Hogg, Charles Piutau, Mike Brown and Alex Goode being well-rewarded for their efforts.
Blindside flankers in the Aviva will feel a tad hard done by as they lie bottom of the earning stakes while surprisingly tight-head props, despite being the cornerstone of their teams’ scrums, are the worst earners in the PRO14.
In contrast tight-head props in England’s top league are valuable commodities, lying in third place. But loosehead props in both leagues may feel slightly aggrieved as they lie third from bottom in both leagues.
As expected, the study reveals that average salaries are higher in the Premiership than in the PRO14, with players in England on 200,000k a year-around 15% more, or 30,000k a year better off than their Pro14 counterparts.
But interestingly Esportif Intelligence after collating and analyzing the information, to their surprise found out that a best XV from the PRO14 would actually earn more than a Premiership best XV.
But how could that be?
Esportif’s head of advisory services Hannah Bowe and sister of Ireland and Ulster star Tommy, explained that the PRO14’s strategy of paying their top stars big wages while being more careful with their spending in their overall budget, is the reason for the above scenario:
“The Pro12 try to pay quality players at its top end more. Its the second and third choice players at those teams who on a whole are not paid as much compared to the Aviva.
“To me, it is representative of the strategy employed by the PRO12 team and Unions to be competitive, which has facilitated their national teams’ competitiveness, by looking after their most influential players where possible, whilst being more constrained on budget”.
Before adding that this was now beginning to change,
“Traditionally, the most expensive team would have been from the PRO12 but the signs are that this is changing.
Pointing out that the difference between the top and bottom spenders in the Aviva was narrowing in contrast to the situation in the PRO14, she added:
“The difference between the top and bottom spending teams in the Aviva will tighten this year but I don’t really see that happening in the PRO14”.
The insightful report throws up a few interesting surprises but on the whole illustrates how the English clubs still hold the upper hand financially on their Irish, Welsh and Scottish counterparts.
And with English coffers set to swell more this season due to increased tv revenues and other sources, the gap is set to widen further.
Hat tip: Wales Online