From the Field to the Bank: South Africa’s Wealthiest Rugby Players

South Africa’s Highest-Earning Rugby Stars in 2023

South African rugby players have not only shone on the field but have also seen their bank accounts flourish, particularly after the Springboks’ recent Rugby World Cup victory.

Here, we profile the top five highest-earning South African rugby stars in 2023, each with their unique stories of achievement and determination.

1. Siya Kolisi – Leading the Way

Siya Kolisi, the pioneering captain who led the Springboks to Rugby World Cup triumphs in 2019 and 2023, stands as the highest-earning South African rugby player.

His association with Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports International marked a turning point in his career, which included his recent move to Racing 92 in France.

With a net worth of an impressive R35 million, Kolisi’s annual income of R15 million comes from endorsements and his role as the Springboks’ captain.

Siya Kolisi’s journey from a modest background to becoming one of South Africa’s highest-earning rugby stars is a testament to his exceptional leadership and skill.

His move to France underscores the global appeal of South African rugby players.

2. Handre Pollard – A Remarkable Comeback

Handre Pollard, with an annual salary of R23 million, is the highest-paid South African rugby player.

Despite a previous injury that kept him out of the RWC 2023 squad, his kicking skills brought him back into the game, further bolstering his bank balance.

Handre Pollard’s ability to overcome setbacks and maintain his status as the top-earning player speaks to his resilience and value in the world of rugby.

3. Cheslin Kolbe – A Lucrative Move

In 2023, Cheslin Kolbe made a significant move to Suntory Sungoliath in the Japan Rugby League One, securing a lucrative R22 million annual salary.

This decision followed a tempting R55 million offer from the Stormers in 2022, highlighting his remarkable value in the rugby world.

Cheslin Kolbe’s transfer to Japan and the substantial offers he received underscore the global reach and commercial appeal of South African rugby stars.

4. Faf de Klerk – Making Waves in Japan

Faf de Klerk, known for his scrumhalf skills, commands an annual salary of R21 million.

When not wearing the green and gold jersey, he plays for the Yokohama Canon Eagles in Japan, earning a place among the world’s highest-paid players with an estimated annual salary of over £900,000.

Faf de Klerk’s successful career both in South Africa and overseas demonstrates the financial opportunities available to top rugby players on the international stage.

5. Eben Etzebeth – A Wealthy Return

Eben Etzebeth found riches in France, earning a substantial annual paycheck of R18.34 million during his time at Toulon.

He later returned to South Africa, joining the Sharks on a five-year deal.

Eben Etzebeth’s journey from playing abroad to returning to South Africa exemplifies the dynamic career paths that South African rugby stars can pursue.


These top-earning South African rugby players not only excel on the field but also highlight the commercial appeal and global recognition of the sport, solidifying their status as stars both on and off the pitch.

The success of these rugby players showcases the financial rewards available in professional sports and the global impact of South African rugby.

Their stories are an inspiration to aspiring athletes.

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