A new study has revealed which positions are the highest paid in rugby.

European sports agency Esportif Intelligence has determined which positions are valued the most by franchises, by collecting salaries from England's Aviva Premiership, and last year's European Pro 12.

The graphic, shown below, contains a few surprises, but not at the top, where first-five eighths are unsurprisingly the highest-paid commodities.

That's good news for the New Zealand first-fives participating in the two competitions, such as Jimmy Gopperth, Marty Banks and Tyler Bleyendaal, especially considering that players recruited from overseas are - in most circumstances - on larger contracts than their local counterparts.

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According to the study the average figure in the Aviva Premiership was about £200,000 ($367,000) a man last season - some 15%, or £30,000 a year, more than in the Pro 12.

The graphic also shows that locks are extremely valued by franchises in the two competitions, as were fullbacks, with former All Black Charles Piutau amongst those in the money.

Piutau, who currently plays at fullback for Ulster in the Pro 12, is set to move to England to play for Bristol, on a deal worth a reported $1.8 million per season.

In the Premiership, blindside flanker was deemed the least valuable position, while tight-head props weren't valued in the Pro 12.

Overall, props were paid the least, with loose-head props ranking third-lowest in both competitions.

According to Esportif's head of advisory services Hannah Bowe, the wages for one or two positions were skewed by supply and demand because a team may have been in desperate need of a certain player but few were available, which would push up the price.

"The average salary of a starting No 10 went up by 15% in the last year in the Aviva and by 5% in the Pro 12, so there wasn't as much movement in that position in the Pro 12," Bowe said.

"There are only two foreign outside-halves in the [expanded] Pro 14 and six in the Aviva. Things like that can have a difference."

New Zealanders playing in the Aviva Premiership: Tom Hendrickson, Jimmy Gopperth, Mat Luamanu, Francis Saili, Jack Wilson, Paul Grant, Bryn Evans, Jono Kitto, Michael Fitzgerald, Brendon O'Connor, John Afoa, Josh Hohneck, Jeremy Thrush, Jason Woodward, Tom Marshall, Willi Heinz, Ben Franks, William Lloyd, Mike Coman, James Marshall, Bryce Heem, Jackson Willison.

New Zealanders playing in the Pro 12: Whetu Douglas
Nasi Manu, Marty Banks, Jayden Hayward, Nick Williams, Willis Halaholo, Tom McCartney, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Jake Heenan, Stacey Ili, Bundee Aki, Sam Beard, Phil Burleigh, Robbie Fruean, Callum Gibbins, Lelia Masaga, Jamison Gibson-Park, Rhys Marshall, Tyler Bleyendaal, Brendon Leonard, Hadleigh Parkes, Johnny McNicholl, Charles Piutau.