Every week I buy a lotto ticket and pray to win the amount of money Carl Hayman was offered per season in France; that sort of money would change my life. If I did win I would probably spend a fair bit of time living in places like the South of France… the same place Hayman is actually getting paid to live in. Put simply: the guy has hit the jackpot. So it is with this qualifier that I say I’m disappointed Carl Hayman has decided against returning to New Zealand for the World Cup next year. Instead he will play for French rugby club Toulon for a reported NZ$1.2 million a season.
We can’t begrudge anyone for taking such a deal; it places him at the top of player earners in rugby union. After all, surely we would have taken the money?
Having thought about it, I’m actually not so sure.
Firstly, it wasn’t as if the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) were offering peanuts. The reported NZ$700,000 offer would have placed him in the distinguished company of legends-in-the-making Richie McCaw and Dan Carter. There was also talk about helping leverage Hayman into a farm, which is his goal for life after rugby. However, technically this rumour has actually been denied by the New Zealand Rugby Union.
Hayman just come off a two year deal playing rugby in France earning nearly a million dollars a year, and he’s been earning good money to play rugby for the better part of a decade. If I were him would I feel like I needed to chase more money at the expense of a dream?
Chris Jack said that for him it was worth taking a pay cut to chase the dream of winning the rugby world cup; although it must be said he wasn’t being offered the sort of money Carl Hayman is. However, Hayman had a far greater chance of making the All Blacks again than Chris Jack did. It is possible the dream is not worth that much to Hayman. He has been known to criticise the fishbowl existence that comes with playing rugby in New Zealand.
For me, I think the chance to go down in rugby history as an all time great and a world cup winner in the single biggest sporting event my home country would ever host, and considering I was already be a millionaire a few times over… I think I would chase the dream.