Out-halves have become the best-paid players in the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership and Top 14 rugby tournaments, with No10s checking in as third best paid in the Guinness PRO14, but hookers continued to be least rewarded as No2s prop up the player salaries table in both the PRO14 and Top14 and fare only marginally better in the Premiership. 

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The annual Esportif Intelligence report comparing the rugby player salaries by position across the three European leagues has in recent years become a major talking point when it is issued at this time every year.        

In season 2019/20, second rows were top of the pile in both the PRO14 and the Premiership. Locks have held onto that status as the best remunerated in the PRO14, but they have dropped back to second in England due to a rise in the average pay packet of the No10s which reflects well on the likes of Northampton’s Dan Biggar and Leicester’s George Ford.

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Locks remain well paid in France, their value jumping from third to second position in the latest cross-tournament comparison of what rugby players in the 13 different positions annually earn in their salaries (locks 4 and 5 and wingers 11 and 13 are counted as one position in the survey).

A major change in France is the value placed on wingers. Whereas a year ago they were the top salary earners in the Top 14, they check in at eighth position this time around. The highest rise in the French game was at blindside, rated tenth best in December 2019 and now the sixth-best paid position. 

There were no huge positional changes year on year in the PRO14, the most significant being the drop in salary for No8s from second spot last term to fifth on this occasion, something perhaps for the likes of CJ Stander, the Ireland and Munster No8, to chew on given his deal is up for renewal.

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Switching to the Premiership, outside centre was the position that made the biggest jump in the rankings, moving from seventh to third, while wingers moved from eleventh-best to eighth. In contrast, scrum-halves fell from sixth-best paid to tenth.  

If there is a trend that should especially worry a particular position it is hooker which checked in as the worst paid position in France and in the PRO14 and the second-worst in England. It was also the worst-paid position in all three leagues last season and it was the least paid role in the Premiership and the PRO14 in 2018/19. It was eleventh best in France that season.

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