Rugby is an industry in which New Zealand dominates the world, and the remuneration of its international players reflects its success.

Gregor Paul reports today the latest broadcasting deal negotiated by New Zealand Rugby is almost double the previous agreement, as well it might be for an organisation that has produced winning teams in two successive Rugby World Cups.

The money means NZ Rugby does not have to worry quite so much about retaining its best players against offers from sponsored teams in the bigger economies of Britain, France and Japan.

It can afford to pay the best close to $1 million a year and pay its most promising young players enough to maintain the All Blacks' ability to keep generating riches for the game here.


The game at lower levels of provincial competition and clubs is no longer as strong as it was before the professional era. Rugby at those levels needs whatever the national body can put aside after it has paid the All Blacks, Super Rugby players and teams in the top provincial contest.

Though it has yet to finalise a new contract with the player's association, it expects to increase grants to provincial unions by 30 per cent.

The hard truth is that clubs and country unions are no longer the life-blood of the game.

Few attend their matches and fewer join the clubs unless they are playing.

But is is heartening that the amateur and social traditions of rugby can also benefit from its international success.