Beast the highest paid SA Super Rugby player in 2017 - report

Cape Town - The Western Province Rugby Union (WPRU) has the biggest player budget of the all the South African rugby franchises, a report indicates.

Afrikaans publication Netwerk24 on Sunday revealed that the Cape franchise had spent R78 million on 128 contracted players (average R609 375) last year.

The Bulls (R68 million for 151 players - average R450 331), Lions (R66 million for 117 players - average R564 103), Sharks (R65 million for 111 players - average R585 586) followed.

The country’s two PRO14 franchises - the Cheetahs (R41 million for 92 players - average R445 652) and Southern Kings (R12 million for 68 players - average R176 471) spent considerably less.

On average, a South African Super Rugby player earned R1 055 440 last season, with the figures excluding win-bonuses.

The highest paid player was Sharks prop Tendai 'Beast' Mtawarira who earned R3 744 796 through his Super Rugby contract.

Meanwhile, Bulls coach John Mitchell is reported to be unhappy with his player budget and has requested R90 million from the Bulls board to help turn the franchise into a dominant force in Super Rugby again.

The Lions have fared the best with their budget in recent years after reaching a third Super Rugby final over the weekend when they beat the Waratahs 44-26 at Ellis Park.

They will face the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday where they will be looking to make it third time lucky, having lost last year’s final to the same opponents 25-17 at Ellis Park.

They lost 20-3 to the Hurricanes in the 2016 final in Wellington.