While football is embroiled in one of the biggest transfer sagas in its history concerning the future of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, this is an opportunity to look back at some of rugby’s biggest ever deals. While the game may not have had deals struck for hundreds of millions, that does not mean that there have not been some landmark moves in the 25-year professional history of rugby union.
Big moves abroad are more common now than they once were, shown most clearly after the 2019 Rugby World Cup where southern hemisphere players flocked to France, England and Japan, but there have always been marquee signings in all leagues.
So here are some of the biggest transfers in rugby union history:
Dan Carter – Crusaders to Perpignan
While Dan Carter’s move to Racing 92 in 2015 was huge in itself, and groundbreaking in terms of his salary, that was at the end of his All Blacks career. However, when Perpignan signed him in 2008 from the Crusaders, they were getting prime Carter in his pomp. A ruptured Achilles slashed through the fly-half’s six month stay in the south of France, but they still won the Top 14.
Jonah Lomu – Cardiff Blues
Any transfer involving arguably the most famous player to ever play rugby union is going to be huge, but Jonah Lomu’s move to the Cardiff