Eben hits the jackpot

Eben Etzebeth is set to become the highest-paid South African rugby player in Springbok history.

On Thursday, Toulon announced that Etzebeth would join the Top 14 giants after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, having agreed a two-year deal that is expected to be worth upwards of €1m (R16m) per season.

That would rank the 75-Test Bok lock among the five highest-paid players in the world, including Israel Folau (estimated €1.4m), Dan Carter and Matt Giteau (both €1.1m), and Charles Piutau (€1m).

The gap between Etzebeth and his countrymen would be significant as there is a cluster of European-based South Africans estimated to be earning upwards of €600k, the mark set by Bryan Habana at Toulon.

In 2017, the average South African Super Rugby player earned R1m, with Beast Mtawarira at the top of the pile on R3.8m.

Etzebeth’s contract would also shatter the two-year, R22m deal that reportedly convinced Jaque Fourie to pull out of the 2011 Rugby World Cup and return to Japan.

Losing a player of Etzebeth’s quality in his prime is a blow to the domestic and regional competitions that he might otherwise have participated in. It remains to be seen whether, written in invisible ink on the Toulon offer, Etzebeth will be required to retire from international rugby.

Fortunately, South Africa has a stockpile of locks to rival a Rest of the World XV and the silver lining to Etzebeth’s mega-deal is that Toulon’s warchest for other South African talent will be R17m lighter in 2020 and 2021.

— Staff Writer

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

Let's chat

  • Barry

    Well, good luck to him. It is great that our players are valued that highly in Europe!

    Personally I wonder if they are getting their money’s worth? Any one of PSDT, RG, Mostert or Lood have better work rate stats.

    • Chris

      We need to start getting worried when they come for the talent at under 20 level.
      SA rugby has gotten a lot out of Eben over the years.

      • Redge

        Agree. I’m a massive Etsebeth fan but we have very capable locks to take us to the 2023 RWC. No one can blame Eben if he except that offer

  • Albert

    Biggest loss to the Stormers since the Schalks departed. But he needs to think about the future of not just himself and family, but where South Africa is going. He comes across as a guy who would never give up on SA rugby though, so I imagine he must have a full international clause in his contract. I bet he even managed to get international matches outside of the window as non-paid breaks. Hence the huge amount he will be paid.

    • Barry

      Albert you make a bunch of statements and assumptions without an ounce of fact to support your views. The reality is that Even is a long way behind the other National locks ito runs, meters made and tackle count. These are facts!

      • Albert

        Barry, please advise exactly which “Statements” you are referring to. You are beginning to sound like Herman Schrodinger and his cat.

        perhaps you missed the small print: The views expressed in these comments are Albert’s alone. These are not meant to be taken as fact but merely referred to as opinion. It is therefore down to any further users to review the opinion with a grain of salt.

        • Herman Schroder?

          Albert using my name in vain old chap, lol ? I get the ‘cat’ by the way.

          Quite frankly IMO the guy is overrated. All grunt no smarts. They couldn’t have looked at his injury track list which like quite a few of our ‘wunderkinden’ seem to be based on play one month, out for four. Good luck to them. Cheers.

          • SweetAz

            Yeah, a bit like “wunderkind” Whitely,-play one game, miss one season. I really doubt you get the “cat”,-if you can’t even figure out rugby I’m betting Quantum mechanics is WAYYYYYYY beyond you

    • Blokkies Joubert

      “But he needs to think about the future of not just himself and family, but where South Africa is going.”


      • nezo

        its amazing how people give up on their nation. Albert is correct. that is what i love about Eben. he is a true South African. this is his nation.

        if you don’t consider your nation. are you a true South African then. remember no player has just made himself. it was through the help of many South Africans that any player gets to were they are. Any player or any South African does not only belong to their family. they belong to the greater family. their nation.

        what kind of thinking is this. no wonder many people run out of the country. its because they think of their own families only. how about your country that has protected you from threats you don’t even know about. you have far more to be thankful for to your nation. like a typical South African. you only highlight the bad. watch on Youtube the testimonies of people who have come back home.

        our nation is not the only one with problems. all of them. you don’t loose love and loyalty to your family because they have problems. you take the initiative to sort them out for the good of the whole family. come on man!

        Eben has my blessing by the way. He has shown loyalty more than many. Eddie Jones is no Australian. he goes tell Australian secrets to other nations. just because they employed him. selfish man

        • Whinger

          Nezo, how is your country keeping you safe? The government uses the protection services to keep itself safe from its people and their own comrades. Those are the only threats you don’t know about. The rest are quite visible and well publicised in the media. That is why citizens are not safe.

          Don’t blame me for the topic. You brought up the “debt” that South Africans supposedly owe their country or “nation”. With a president who keeps talking about “our people”, excluding a good 15% of the population, one has to ask. How big is your “nation” and who is allowed to be part of it?

          • Nezo

            My nation is over 50 million. Hence my comments about how I love Eben and how correct Albert is about him. Maybe its your nation that is way less than mine.

          • Nezo

            Maybe you could speak of Zuma in that regard but not this president. Maybe you can speak of malema and the ANC in that regard but not this president. Not everyone is against you my man. Many are with you. You just choose to see things your own way

        • Whinger

          It is sport Nezo, not war. The official secrets act does not apply in Jones’s case. If you don’t employ your best coaches, you have to accept that they will make a living somewhere else.

          • Nezo

            What a country we have. That is all I can say. Some in Capetown support the Allblacks.

            Its not sport as you say. Look carefully and holistically. You will see it is war. For example. Did you know that the drainage of our players to Europe is making our economies even more worse.

            Nothing is as simple as u speak in this world. Europe is getting reacher which means more crime in your nation because more people will loose jobs as our Rand weakens even more. There way you responded makes me think that you have no CLUE HOW ECONOMICS WORKS. EVERY LITTLE ACTION OR HAPPENING AFFECTS EVERYTHING. its either you will be better off as a whole or worse off.

            Our players moving overseas is detrimental to our nation. Far more than you care to realise. You should be standing up and finding solutions to your countries problems than blaming the government.

            For your information. I don’t even like our government but I have realised that me blaming them will take us no were. Its time we stand up and do something. Us not them. My my my my South Africans. How clue less

      • Albert

        Because South Africa is a very politically stable and safe place as documented. The outlook for South Africa is far superior to any other nation.

        • Barry

          We have just ousted a tyrant, our parastatals are bankrupt, we have one of the highest crime rates in the world and we are viewed as “trash status” by the international financial sector. We select our Sportsmen based on skin color rather than competence and undertake business on the same basis! Your either in denial or you simply do not understand what presents itself in front of you!

          • Albert

            *rooling eye* See SweetAz comment for clarity…

          • SweetAz

            I think you missed the tongue in cheek

        • Blokkies Joubert

          Ha Ok.

          The way you said it was as if he shouldn’t think of his family but only his country.

          I understand what you meant now

          • Nezo

            No he must think of both Sir. Both belong to him or her. As her or she also belongs to her family and country. You CNT act as a loner in this world. If you look back clearly you yourself got to where you are by the help of many people. People that you have not even repayed. All of us. It wasn’t just our families that matter. The whole community matters because you also matter to them. That is why they gave you whatever they had to get you to your goal. Be it advice or money or anything. You didn’t HV it they gave it to you

        • nezo

          i am with you Mr Albert. true South African indeed

          • Redge

            Sorry Nezo not Neto?

          • Redge

            Neto you live in a dream world. SA is no place to raise a family. It’s not a question of loving SA or not it’s a question of survival and a future for my children. You’re 100% correct, all counties have problems but jeez mate SA is in a different league! Yes there are people that can not adjust in other countries and go back to SA but most people from Cape Town won’t be able to fit in in Pretoria for example. Moving overseas is not an a easy move and definitely not for “sissies”. The main thing to me is that when you move you have to move for the right reasons. Most people that moved because they refused to be ruled by a black government won’t make it. I went to the AB/SA test in Wellington earlier this year and was amazed by the amount of passionate coloured Bok supporters who now stay in NZ. 95% of the people that leave SA leave because of crime,corruption and no future.

          • Dean

            While the looting, killing of innocent South Africans and burning of costly infrastructure is happening, the President has done NOTHING. He hasn’t even said anything. Let’s not get it twisted. While the SA people are at war with each other, he is bringing in Chinese investment who will cheapen everything in SA and profit from it. SA used to be a self-sufficient and sustainable country. He sells coal produced oil to SA’s neighbors for a tenth of the value while South Africans pay inflated prices for petrol. Yes, a very good businessman ;)
            The same guy that says black anger is down to white lackadaisical attitude. And “we must take the land back for our people”. Like Lekota said, “Who is we?” You must not divide South Africa. SA must be for all South Africans.
            Yes, a good businessman and impartial too, what more does South Africa need.

        • SweetAz

          lol,-you sound like my brother fro another mother

  • SweetAz

    Well, I’ve heard they actually have electricity and stuff in France, so what’s not to like?

    • John Comyn

      Those okes in the yellow vests!

    • Whinger

      And water. I bathed in a bowl for the last week, right next to Hartbeespoort dam. Living in formal housing does not mean that you are assured of water and electricity. Great leveler of people, South Africa.

      • SweetAz

        Yeah,—Do you know what South Africa had before candles?


        • Redge

          Lol! Unfortunately that’s true!

  • Ntokozo

    Wow Rugby players are underpaid €1m to €1,4m pa that what most avarage players soccer players earn in Europe in two month unreal!

  • Nick

    Brilliant and well deserved opportunity for Eben. Probably more highly rated up here in the north than in SA. Fans will pay to see him play. The French will love him like they did Bakkies. Fits the French style.

  • Chris Ras

    SARU really should apply a little vision and move away from Super Rugby first and join the Cheetahs and Kings up in Europe. It’s the same time zone, better money and it will benefit the players immensly. I believe it would then say to NZ and AUS to replace South Africa with the Pacific Islands and Japan. The game grows and everyone wins.

    • Redge

      Good point SR is boring anyway

    • Nezo

      Fully agree. They should do it emmediately

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