The Championship is the second level of rugby in England. Teams that are relegated from the Premiership will then have to play in the Championship to get a chance at promotion. So how much do players earn in the Championship?
How much do Championship rugby players earn? On average Championship Rugby players earn between £10,000 and £90,000 per year. The exact amount they earn tends to depend on their quality and experience.
Championship Rugby players certainly do not get paid as much as their Premiership Rugby counterparts. It is difficult to find the exact salaries of all Championship Rugby players but we can make a pretty good estimate.
At the top end, the best of the best Championship players will earn between £60,000 and £90,000. This is mainly for the high-end players. Not every team pays players like this, as some teams are semi-professional, meaning they cannot afford to pay players these high wages.
The average salary across the division tends to be between £30,000 and £60,000. This is the average salary for most medium-end players, who have a decent amount of Championship experience as well as being first-team players. These are the wages that the professional clubs in the Championship payout to their players.
There are also a lot of players in the Championship who are semi-professional. These players tend to earn between £10,000 and £30,000. A team like London Scottish is a great example of that. They became semi-professional in the last few years due to reduced funding from the RFU and so they likely pay their players between £10,000 and £30,000 every year.
It is very rare that you see Championship players paid any more than this. If clubs feel like the players should earn more than that, it is unlikely they are going to be able to pay them. Championship players usually move to the Premiership if they are not earning as much as they believe they could.
These professional players are likely to have one or two sponsorships that may bring them some additional income but not near the amount that players get in the Premiership. Semi-professional players will need to have another form of income as they are not paid enough solely from rugby.
Are Championship rugby players professional?
In the past, the Championship has been a fully professional league. However, due to reduced funding and the impact of the pandemic, a lot of Championship rugby players are not professional anymore. The majority of Championship rugby players are professional still today, but some teams have had to become semi-professional.
If some teams are semi-professional, it means that the players for those teams will be semi-professional. So most Championship rugby players are professional but there are also quite a few who are semi-professional. London Scottish are one of the teams that became semi-professional due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Semi-professional rugby player salary UK
In the UK, the Championship is a great example of where semi-professional rugby players play. These players will be paid, just not enough for them to make a living from solely rugby. Instead, they will need another form of income to sustain a living.
In the UK, semi-professional rugby players are paid a salary between £10,000 and £30,000. This is the normal salary for the lower-end Championship players and possibly some semi-professional players in low leagues in the UK. The exact salary depends on experience and quality of play.
How much do professional rugby players earn per week?
The exact figure that a professional rugby player earns per week tends to vary quite heavily. At the lower end, some professionals earn around £650 per week, just about enough to call themselves professionals. These will usually be players In The Championship at the lower end, or academy players just breaking into the senior squad.
At the higher end, some professional players are earning £20,000 per week, thought to be the approximate weekly wage of guys like Handre Pollard and Charles Piutau. The average professional player will earn around £8,000 per week, which is the average professional player in the Premiership.
How much do professional rugby players earn per month?
The average professional rugby player earns around £8,000 per month, but this figure varies on a lot of different factors. Players new to professional rugby may earn around £3,000 per month, with this figure increasing as their quality increases and they become more experienced.
At the very top end, some of the superstars earn around £80,000 per month, the amount marquee players earn. This figure can vary month to month as a lot of international players get paid per international appearance and so the figure varies on when there are international games.
Is there a salary cap in Championship Rugby?
The Championship is the second tier of Rugby in England. Due to that, there are both professional and semi-professional teams in the division, with some teams only employing a limited number of professional players.
Due to that, there is not a salary cap in the Championship. Spending tends to be pretty low in the Championship anyway due to reduced funding from the RFU as well as the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. So at the moment, it appears that there is no salary cap in the Championship to put a cap on the amount teams are spending on players.
This is likely down to how much the spending capacity varies for each team. At the top of the Championship, teams like Ealing and Jersey are able to sign experienced Premiership players, including the likes of Jonah Holmes, Nathan Earle and Will Montgomery.
Whereas at the bottom of the table, teams are more focused on getting in semi-professional players as well as seeking assistance from Premiership teams. London Scottish spend very little on player salaries, with a lot of their team being made up of Harlequins academy players including Lennox Anyanwu, Will Hobson and Villami Taulani.
This variety of spending makes it difficult to implement a salary cap, when some teams may not be able to spend close to the cap, making it pointless.