Two senior Springboks have been listed among the top five most overpaid players in the world at the moment.
According to leading rugby website Ruck.co.uk, these are some of the game’s top earners who’ve not delivered in terms of on-field performance for the clubs that invested in them.
Handre Pollard (£1m; Montpellier)
Pollard has played an average of 10.5 club matches per year since his professional debut. At Montpellier, where he was widely acknowledged to be one of the game’s highest-paid players, earning £1m per year, Pollard played only 16 matches.
The French giants effectively paid the 27-year-old around £62,500 per game (R1.3m).
The South African playmaker will leave Montpellier for the Leicester Tigers later this year and will earn a reported salary of £600,000.
Manu Tuilagi (£400,000; Sale Sharks)
The England centre played just six times for Sale in 2021, scoring zero tries while earning around £850 for each minute he has been on the field.
Somehow, he managed to get a new contract taking his current deal up to 2023 despite the incoming salary cap restrictions.
Taulupe Faletau (£475,000; Bath)
Faletau has been a frustrating signing for Bath, with injuries keeping him sidelined for longer periods than he was on the field despite earning close to £2.5m during his five-year stint at the club.
The Welsh No 8 will join Cardiff at the end of the current season.
Eben Etzebeth (£900,000; Toulon)
Etzebeth joined Toulon at the end of 2019, after the Boks’ World Cup triumph, but has endured a turbulent time at the club.
He has not yet played a single game for Toulon this season and of the nine games he played in the previous calendar year, they’ve lost six.
In fact, Etzebeth made more Test appearances for Springboks (12), than he did for his club in 2021.
Just last week, Toulon president Bernard Lemaître labelled Etzebeth a “handicap” to the club as he is “expensive, is regularly injured and is often away on Test duty”.
Charles Piutau (£1m; Bristol)
Despite his excellent form last season, the highest-paid player in the English Premiership has not delivered for Bristol this season.
He has scored just one try in 10 games so far and with the reduced salary-cap restrictions set to come into effect it looks likely that the club will not offer him a contract extension when his current deal expires in July.