19 Carl Hayman (rugby) $820,000
Former All Black prop Carl Hayman became one of the first high-profile New Zealand players to head offshore in the prime of his career when he joined the Newcastle Falcons after the 2007 World Cup.
At the time the $1 million a year deal made him the highest-paid rugby player in the world. Seven years on and Hayman continues to command top dollar from European clubs.
The 34-year-old is now with French side Toulon, where he reportedly earns $68,000/month, just under $820,000 a season. Hayman joined Toulon in late 2010, initially signing on for two seasons at $1.2 million a year. The move came as a blow to the NZRU, who believed they had put together a competitive offer to lure the tight-head prop back home ahead of the 2011 World Cup.
Hayman said at the time his decision came down to “financial and lifestyle” reasons.