All Black great Dan Carter tops list of French rugby's highest paid superstars
There's a reason Kiwi rugby players continue to head to France in their droves, and it's not just the lifestyle that is available in the warmer climes of the southern regions.
French sports newspaper L'equipe has compiled a list of leading salary earners in the French Top 14 competition and, not surprisingly, it is topped by All Black great Dan Carter – the highest paid player on the planet – and, equally unsurprisingly, it is studded with Kiwis among those earning the big bucks.
According to the French paper, Carter's Racing 92 club pay him 71,000 euros (NZ$114,850) a month, which equates to an annual salary of just shy of NZ$1.4 million. Not a bad pension for the All Black centurion and two-time World Cup-winner in the golden years of his career.
That's well clear of the monthly salary of 65,000 euros (NZ$105,146) raked in by Wallabies star Matt Giteau who is second on the list.
The next highest paid Kiwi is, a little surprisingly, Luke McAlister who picks up $80,882 a month to run out for Toulon, on southern France's Mediterranean coast.
He is paid more than All Black legends Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith who come in down the list with, respectively, $67,940 and $66,300 a month.
It seems veteran performers are valued in France too, with long-time Top 14 regulars Joe Rokocoko ($42,000), David Smith ($42,00) and Jason Eaton ($40,400) among the top tier of salaries. Little wonder they're still running around on the French scene.
Predictably glamour clubs Toulon and Racing 92 dish out the highest salaries, with Racing just edging Toulon for top honours with an average monthly wage of $53,380.
Top earners in French rugby (salaries monthly NZ$)*:
1 Dan Carter (Racing 92) $114,850
2 Matt Giteau (Toulon) $105,146
3 Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon) $88,972
4 Luke McAlister (Toulon) $80,882
Morgan Parra (Clermont) $80,882
Richie Gray (Castres) $80,882
7 Will Genia (Stade Francais) $76,029
Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais) $76,029
Morne Steyn (Stade Francais) $76,029
10 Duane Vermeulen (Toulon) $72,793
Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse) $72,793
Wesley Fofana (Clermont) $72,793
Patricio Albacate (Toulouse) $72,793
Also: Ma'a Nonu (Toulon) $67,940; Conrad Smith (Pau) $66,300; Colin Slade (Pau) $66,300; Victor Vito (La Rochelle) $61,470; Joe Rokocoko (Racing 92) $42,000; David Smith (Castres) $42,000; Jason Eaton (La Rochelle) $40,400.
* Source: L'equipe