Rugby is often seen as a rich man’s game, mainly down to it being much more popular in private schools than public schools. Rugby players can still rack up quite the wealth even if they are not paid similar to football players.
Who is the richest rugby player? The richest rugby player of all time is a man named Simon McDowell. The former Irish rugby player did not have a very long career but actually earned his wealth through the family business.
A lot of people will not have heard about the richest rugby player of all time. Simon McDowell will certainly not be a familiar name, even for Irish rugby fans. He had a very short rugby career, playing four years before having to retire from the game due to recurring injuries, with a serious knee injury cutting his time short.
He played for just four years for the North Ireland Football Club, a very successful club in Ireland. So successful that the club has produced eight players who have gone on to play for the British and Irish Lions and 15 Irish internationals. But injury meant McDowell did not join them.
McDowell took to refereeing after his playing career was prematurely ended. He ended up refereeing at a very high level, being a referee for the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups. He was a touch judge for the 2007 competition, having the same role in the 2011 competition.
McDowell became a TMO for his last few years of refereeing, eventually retiring from officiating in 2020, having retired from on-field refereeing in 2012. He had a lot of career highlights as an official, refereeing the 2002 U21 Rugby World Cup Final and being the match referee for the 2006 Women’s Rugby World Cup Final.
However, it was not in rugby that he made his money. McDowell is part of the family that owns the Kilwaughter Chemical Company. The company started as a quarry and mineral processor and has developed into a very successful company. Simon’s father John McDowell became the company’s Managing Director in 1965.
Despite being a rugby referee, Simon took over as Managing Director in 2001 alongside his successful rugby refereeing career. McDowell is still the primary owner despite Gary Wilmot taking over as Managing Director in 2019. The company is now known as Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd.
The company is valued at over £50 million, meaning that McDowell has a huge personal wealth. Despite a disappointing rugby career that ended prematurely, Simon McDowell is still the richest rugby player of all time thanks to his family’s successful business.
Who is the richest rugby player in 2022?
At the moment, it is difficult to say exactly who the richest player in the world is. It is likely going to be Handre Pollard as he is currently one of the biggest earners in the world, pulling in around £1 million per year due to his contract with Leicester and his previous contract with Montpellier.
Pollard has been earning this large contract for the last few years, likely making him one of the biggest earners in the world. There are other international stars who are earning a huge amount that might be the richest players still playing. Guys like Owen Farrell, Beauden Barrett and Charles Piutau have been earning large sums for such a long time.
Sonny Bill Williams’s net worth
Sonny Bill Williams was an incredibly talented rugby player who became one of the biggest stars of New Zealand rugby, having tried his hand in union and league. He has been able to build substantial wealth through his highly successful rugby career as well as ventures outside of the sport.
Sonny Bill Williams estimated net worth is $25 million. This is just an estimated figure as it is difficult to accurately say how much Williams is worth. He earned a lot of that in rugby contracts as well as his professional boxing career from the last few years.
Richest rugby club in the world
It is difficult to estimate exactly who the richest club in the world is but there are definitely some clubs up there. Toulon are one of the richest teams in domestic rugby. In the past, they have been able to spend on superstar players like Drew Mitchell, Sonny Bill Williams and Tana Umaga.
Recently, the team’s budget for the year has been around £30 million, making them one of the richest teams in the world. Part of that is thanks to the French TV deals which bring in a huge amount of money. That’s why teams like Clermont, Toulouse and Montpellier have been able to sign superstars in the past.
Richest rugby club in England
While the exact figures of each rugby club is difficult to find, there is one team that stands out when considering the richest rugby club in England.
Leicester Tigers have to certainly be the richest club in England. For one thing, they are one of the most successful teams in England, having won multiple Premiership titles as well as two European Cups. This has helped to bring a huge amount of money to the team.
Leicester have also consistently been able to bring large crowds every week, with the Tigers having one of the biggest fan bases in the country. This means that Leicester have consistently been able to bring a large amount of revenue from their stadium and it makes them a very rich club.
Saracens or Bristol are the two other teams who could be the richest in England. Saracens have been able to invest a huge amount of money into their player’s thanks to a huge amount of investment from their owner Nigel Wray, investment both legally and illegally.
Bristol have been able to spend a huge amount of money over the last few years thanks to investment from Stephen Lansdown. Despite not having a huge fan base the team has been able to sign some big names with a big budget, including internationals like Ellis Genge, Kyle Sinckler and Semi Radradra.