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Lucrative Lions: Gatland's squad earning €1.8m more per season than All Blacks

New data has detailed some interesting differences between the sides.

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland.
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

WARREN GATLAND’S BRITISH and Irish Lions squad are travelling to New Zealand as underdogs this summer but they have plenty to spare over their Kiwi counterparts when it comes to earning power.

New data from Esportif Intelligence compares Gatland’s selection and New Zealand’s November 2016 touring squad, and has revealed that the northern hemisphere-based players are worth €1.8 million more in total per year.

This means, on average, a British and Irish Lion is earning €44,000 more than an All Black per annum, which highlights why many New Zealanders on the fringes of international selection, or towards the end of their careers, are playing rugby overseas.

The 41-man British and Irish Lions squad unveiled yesterday are earning an average of €346,000 per year while the basic salary of Steve Hansen’s players sits at €302,000. The cost of living in New Zealand is currently higher than both Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The breakdown of the data also reveals the Lions contingent have the edge when it comes to experience with a combined 1,867 caps compared to the All Blacks’s 1,244.

This means that across the squad the Lions boast an average of 46 international caps, 16 more than the New Zealand average of 30 Test appearances.

Sonny Bill Williams, Charlie Ngatai, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Nepo Laulala didn’t travel to Europe last year due to injury but have been included in the study for comparative purposes.

Key data:

Lions: Players — 41
New Zealand: Players — 41

Lions: Total number of caps — 1,867, 46 average
NZ: Total number of caps — 1,244, 30 average

Lions: Basic salary — £11.9 million (€14.2 million), €346,000 average
NZ: Basic salary — £10.4 million (€12.4 million), €302,000 average

British and Irish Lions squad 2017

Backs: Dan Biggar (Wales), Elliot Daly (England), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Owen Farrell (England), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Robbie Henshaw (Ireland), Stuart Hogg (Scotland), Jonathan Joseph (England), Conor Murray (Ireland), George North (Wales), Jack Nowell (England), Jared Payne (Ireland), Jonathan Sexton (Ireland), Tommy Seymour (Scotland), Ben Te’o (England), Anthony Watson (England), Rhys Webb (Wales), Liam Williams (Wales), Ben Youngs (England).

Forwards: Rory Best (Ireland), Dan Cole (England), Taulupe Faletau (Wales), Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), Jamie George (England), Iain Henderson (Ireland), Maro Itoje (England), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), George Kruis (England), Courtney Lawes (England), Joe Marler (England), Jack McGrath (Ireland), Ross Moriarty (Wales), Sean O’Brien (Ireland), Peter O’Mahony (Ireland), Ken Owens (Wales), Kyle Sinckler (England), CJ Stander (Ireland), Justin Tipuric (Wales), Mako Vunipola (England), Billy Vunipola (England), Sam Warburton (Wales, captain).

New Zealand squad November 2016*

Forwards: Scott Barrett, Sam Cane, Dane Coles, Liam Coltman, Wyatt Crockett, Elliot Dixon, Charlie Faumuina, Owen Franks, Jerome Kaino, Nepo Laulala*, Steven Luatua, Joe Moody, Kieran Read (captain), Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Ardie Savea, Liam Squire, Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Sam Whitelock.

Backs: Beauden Barrett, Ryan Crotty, Aaron Cruden, Israel Dagg, Malakai Fekitoa, Rieko Ioane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Anton Lienert-Brown*, Damian McKenzie, Nehe Milner-Skudder, George Moala, Charlie Ngatai*, Waisake Naholo, TJ Perenara, Julian Savea, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Sonny Bill Williams*.

*Did not tour last November through injury but has been included for comparative purposes.

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Alan Waldron

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