Winning the Rugby World Cup etches not only a country’s name into 24 carat gold plate and players’ names into the history books – it comes with bonus payment into the back pocket of those that do.
Each member of the All Blacks 33-man squad have already secured a $35,000 payment for reaching the final. If they are to topple the Springboks on Sunday and send many of their most-memorable names as well as departing coach Ian Foster into the sunset as World Champions, that payment soars to $150,000 under the players collective agreement with New Zealand Rugby – not bad for eighty minutes work.
This is not a new figure, as in 2015 after beating the Wallabies at Twickenham the same amount was injected into the bank accounts of Steve Hansen’s men. It is an increase on 2011, however, Graham Henry’s champions pocketed $100,000 each after they beat France in an almost unbearable to watch final at Eden Park.
In comparison to other nations, Midi Olympic has reported that had Les Bleus lifted their first World Cup, each squad member would have taken home a smidge under €200,000 (NZ$365,190), while the Sydney Morning Herald have said Rugby Australia’s agreement with their players’ association would have seen the Wallabies gain a bonus of AU$175,000 ($189,554) if they had won the tournament.
In what seems like another universe entirely, England’s World Cup squad will be paid £100,000 per man at the World Cup simply for turning up to the pool stages of the competition.
This is not the first time Rugby World Cup bonuses have been a talking point in Aotearoa – the Black Ferns were initially not contracted to receive a bonus after securing their sixth crown – but after sponsors Sky, Adidas and ASB pitched in there was a pool available and each player received $25,000.
“Accordingly, as we have done previously in respect of All Blacks RWC bonus payments, we have worked with commercial partners to create a pool that rewards the players for their historic and special performance,” said New Zealand Rugby boss Mark Robinson as news broke.
Money has long been used as a motivator and rugby is no different. Before the 2003 World Cup, in preparation for a Tri Nations test against the Wallabies in Sydney, All Blacks players – including captain Reuben Thorne – once seeing what other nations’ players were getting as a bonus, reportedly went back to the union to negotiate. They had been offered $45,000 but wanted $100,000.
They eventually reached a compromise of $2000 for a pool win, $13,000 for a quarterfinal win, $15,000 for a semifinal win and $50,000 if they won the final – the 50-21 bollocking they dished out to Australia at Tesltra Stadium was reminiscent of France haggling over more pay two days before playing the All Blacks in 1995 – and promptly thumping them after they got it.
The Webb Ellis Cup weighs approximately 4.5kg – current prices in the gold souks of Auckland say a solid gold replica of the famous trophy would cost you $492,912 – perhaps the All Blacks could chip in a percentage of their bonuses each, should they emerge victorious at Stade de France.
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