Rodney So'oialo, Ali Williams on a roll

Last updated 05:00 14/11/2010

Related Links

Ted needs to stand up for the good and bad moves

Relevant offers

All Blacks

Waisake Naholo: Fijian roots, rugby, 'miracle' recoveries and the All Blacks Toby Robson and Liam Napier preview All Blacks vs Tonga at the Rugby World Cup Former All Blacks Piri Weepu and Luke McAlister refused release for Jerry Collins tribute match All Blacks in awe of Newcastle's St James' Park on eve of final pool match Sonny Bill Williams reveals his latest ball-carrying trick - 13 balls at a time Tonga confident of recording major Rugby World Cup upset against the All Blacks Right wing spot up for grabs as All Blacks polish pool plan in Newcastle All Blacks playmaker Dan Carter primed for World Cup response against Tonga Ma'a Nonu tries to duck spotlight ahead of 100th test for the All Blacks Risking Richie McCaw 'pointless' in Rugby World Cup clash with Tonga

Despite his staggering decline as a rugby player, Rodney So'oialo remains one of the top paid players in New Zealand.

Only two All Blacks are paid higher retainers by the New Zealand Rugby Union – Richie McCaw and Dan Carter.

Sunday Star-Times sources have confirmed So'oialo and an elite group of players are the next best paid All Blacks – even though the Wellington No 8 hasn't pulled on the black jersey this year and is not wanted for next year's Rugby World Cup.

Carter and McCaw both earn guaranteed retainers (which are not subject to form or fitness) from the NZRU of about $750,000.

The sport's next biggest stars earn about $500,000 from the union (a figure which can vary depending on performance clauses and doesn't include what they earn from their provinces and sponsors). So'oialo is one of them, as is the injured Ali Williams, who hasn't played any meaningful rugby for two years.

Mils Muliaina and Tony Woodcock are also in the group.

Williams' injury was outside the NZRU's control.

However, So'oialo's rapid slide was not anticipated when it should have been.

His guaranteed pay packet has left NZRU officials red faced in the current economic climate. His and Williams' contracts have also contributed to a blow-out in the NZRU's professional player payment pool.

In a pre-emptive strike in March last year the NZRU offered So'oialo a two year deal to ward off overseas overtures.

The All Blacks selectors were adamant he would play a major part in next year's World Cup and made a strong recommendation he should be retained.

The NZRU felt obliged to either offer a contract equal to his seniority and standing in the game or cut him loose.

So'oialo accepted their generous terms in March 2009.

The deal, however, has turned out to be a dud.

An injured So'oialo was dropped by the All Blacks two months later, after a poor Super Rugby campaign.

He was recalled for the Tri Nations and end of year tour but was deemed surplus to Graham Henry's requirements this year and hasn't and probably won't appear in black again.

Ad Feedback

- Sunday Star Times

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content