The rise of social media platforms has given athletes a new way to connect with fans, promote themselves and of course cash-in in the process.


Although rugby is traditionally against individualism and actively represses it, the game can’t escape the realties of the modern day. Although some of Rugby’s biggest stars have made this list, in the scheme of the wider world they fail to make an impact.

Leading engagements monitoring site, actively measures athletes from around the globe on how their social media accounts are performing from an engagement point of view. When measured against their counterparts from other sports, Rugby’s stars fail to even rate a mention without one in the top 50.

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On the list of most engaged athletes for the month of November 2020, footballers Christiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi rank number one and two, followed by Indian cricketer Virat Kohli. Rounding out the top five are Neymar De Silva and UFC fighter Conor McGregor.

On ESPN’s list of top 100 recognised athletes of 2019, again not one Rugby athlete cracks the list but Cricket has five in the top 25 and E-Sports star Ninja makes the list. Rugby has some way to go to become a global power in the sporting world and putting their stars on that list would be a sign that they are making improvement.

Within the world of Rugby, some notable names who didn’t make the top 10 but are worthy of a mention are Australian Sevens star Charlotte Caslick who ranked 22, the highest female player on the list and ahead of names like Bryan Habana (25th), Tom Curry (26th) and Sonny Bill Williams (27th).

Although he just hit the international scene this year, Caleb Clarke ranked 18th, while Ngani Laumape came in 17th. England centre Henry Slade just missed out on the top 10 coming in 11th, while France’s new star Romain Ntamack came in 12th.


10. Quade Cooper (203.1k engagements)


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A post shared by Quade Cooper (@quadecooper)

The former Wallaby playmaker hasn’t played for the national side since 2016 but remains one of the most intriguing figures in the game. Cooper shares much of his training regime on his account, detailing his workouts for fans. The flyhalf pulled off a number of NFL/rugby pass trick shots throughout 2020 which no doubt aided his engagement numbers.


The former Queensland Red is currently in Japan awaiting the new season with the Kinetsu Liners.

9. Greg O’Shea (207.8k engagements)


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O’Shea is an Irish Sevens player who’s social media fame followed his stint on Love Island in 2019. He ended up winning the competition but did not find long-lasting love with Amber.  With 1.1 million followers on Instagram, O’Shea may not need Rugby long-term as his influencing opportunities may be vast and fruitful.

8. Beauden Barrett (220.3k engagements)

It’s no surprise to see the two-time World Player of the Year on this list but the All Black has been higher in the rankings before. Barrett’s account is full of endorsements, pumping Red Bull, Tudor and other brand endorsements when not sharing insights into his personal life or rugby photos.

The flyhalf is currently training in Japan about to start his first stint with Suntory Sungoliath in the Top League.

7. Maro Itoje (223.9k engagements)


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England’s star lock just completed a standout international season in the Autumn Nations Cup so it is no surprise he made the top 10 of engaged accounts. The Saracens lock is currently on holiday in Barbados getting some sun.

6. Antoine Dupont (243.5k engagements)

The French halfback has been one of the stars of 2020 with big performances in the Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup. The Toulouse star is amassing more followers on social with 173k on Instagram as he becomes more globally known within the game.

5. Cheslin Kolbe (279.9k engagements)


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The Springboks star comes in at fifth for November 2020 following the return to action in the Champions Cup. The World Cup winner stunned the Rugby World again with his side-stepping exploits against Ulster, particularly on Irish wing Jacob Stockdale.

Kolbe announced his move to Roc Nation Sports and celebrated with a podcast with the Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, which he shared on social media.

4. Nick Cummins (281.3k engagements)


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Despite not playing international rugby for years, Nick Cummins remains one of rugby’s most influential figures. As an Aussie larrikin, Cummins has piggybacked his rugby career into a career as a celebrity featuring on The Bachelor reality TV show where he famously walked away without committing to anyone.

The former Wallaby now shares his exploits in the Wild and Australian Outback on his Instagram where he has nearly half a million followers.

3. Charles Taylor (344.4k engagements)

At number three on the list is another former Love Island attendee, this time on the Australian series, Australian Sevens player Charlie Taylor. Although he was dumped from the Island on Day 7, Taylor has become a fitness trainer & model on IG and currently lives in Dubai where he is an actor.

2. Dan Carter (449.9k engagements)


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Having bowed out from the international game in 2015, Dan Carter still is a global rugby superstar having continued his career with Racing 92, Kobe Steelers and more recently the Blues where injury prevented him from making a comeback to New Zealand Rugby.

Carter can still top the list on rugby’s most influential social media accounts where he has amassed 2.6 million followers.

1. Siya Kolisi (504.4k engagements)

Topping the list is none other than Springbok captain Siya Kolisi. Without playing a game in 2020, Kolisi is enjoying the fruits of a stellar 2019 where he led the Springboks to World Cup glory in Japan. The flanker joined Roc Nations Sports after the campaign and his become an Icon in his home country.

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