Big and Controversial: Transfers in Rugby
The ever increasingly worldwide popularity of rugby comes with the increase in value in players. Big money is available across the world, particularly in France, Japan and England and the transfer figures just keep rising.
While the money still is nowhere near the eye-watering figures that are seen in the football market, the amount of money spent on rugby players would be mind blowing to fans of pre-professional rugby.
Below you’ll find some recent examples of transfers that made headlines in the rugby world. Some simply for the sums involved and some for the more shady aspects involved in the deals.
Dan Carter To Racing 92
Dan Carters move to Racing 92 is one of the highest profile transfers in rugby history. There was hardly a soul however, who begrudged the legendary kicker a pay day in France after over 100 caps for his country.
The transfer set records, as Carter became the first player to earn over £1 million from a single contract. It seems appropriate it was carter to break this record given that he also has the record for most points scored.
What did it cost: £1.25m 3 year deal and not playing for the best team in the world anymore.
Sam Burgess To Bath
Perhaps the most controversial transfer in recent history simply because how mismanaged it looked and ugly it ended. The hype for Sam Burgess’s arrival in union was palpable and the pressure on his shoulders before he arrived as the “saviour of English rugby” meant there was practically no way he would live up to expectations.
An early Rugby World Cup exit, disappointing Bath season later (Neither of which Burgess can realistically be accountable for) and a hostile press meant Sam returned to where he was fully appreciated, presumably, never to return.
What did it cost: £880,000 (But apparently the Rabbitohs helped with a refund)
Ma’a Nonu to Toulon
Another All Black who found that his twilight years would be best spent in France was, of course, Ma’a Nonu. After the Rugby World Cup, a number of All Black legends were expected to retire to France for a last hurrah.
While Toulon are a team of superstars, Ma’a Nonu is one of the most prestigious. And while Toulon have not been as dominant in recent years they still boast the most impressive line-up of stars anywhere in rugby.
What did it cost: £600,000 and having to work under Mourad Boudjellal
Denny Solomona to Sale Sharks
The cross-code signing of Denny Solomona was the most controversial signing of 2016. Not because Sale Sharks put down a lot of money for the player but because his original club, Castleford Tigers feel they were deceived.
Solomona had been the top try scorer for the Tigers last season but was clearly unhappy continuing to play in League. Tigers had refused several bids for the player but Solomona took matters into his own hands and retired from League altogether so that he was free to sign up with whoever he liked.
The legal ramifications of this transfer, might still be felt in later in 2017.
What did it cost: The potential for a full blown war between Sharks and Tigers.
What transfers have surprised you most? Let us know in the comments or over on Twitter.