Six Nations: The nicknames of 35 rugby players, pundits and coaches involved in this year’s tournament

Jared Wright
The Six Nations returns, and we go through some of the nicknames you will likely hear during rugby’s greatest championship.

The Six Nations returns, and we go through some of the nicknames you will likely hear during rugby’s greatest championship.

From the brilliantly funny to the painfully straightforward and unimaginative, we run through an extensive list, including players, coaches and pundits revealing their nicknames and why/how they earned them.

Jonathan Davies – Jiffy

A dual-code great, Davies’ famous nickname followed him in both codes throughout his career, and while there has been some creative thinking as to why he was dubbed ‘Jiffy,’ the truth is rather mundane. In 1982, when he joined Neath, another player named Jonathan Davies was at the club, leading to the future Welsh great becoming Jiffy.

Chris Paterson – Mossy

A nickname given to the Scotland great by his brother, who believed that Paterson was the real-life double of a cartoon dinosaur named ‘Moschops’, which Chris was fond of.

Nigel Owens – Pugsley, Nige

The former Test referee is often referred to as ‘Nige’, but he has revealed that he was known as ‘Pugsley’ during his chubby days at schools, referencing The Addams Family character.

Tommy Bowe – Bowfinger, Elbow, Dumbo, Dicky Bowe

The former Ireland flyer has several nicknames, all of which are derived from his surname. “With a name like Bowe, you get a lot: Bowfinger, Elbow, Dumbo, Dicky Bowe. At the Ospreys they tried to call me the Gypsy from Ireland, but it’s not caught on,” he told Rugby World magazine back in 2010.

Denis Hickie – Disco Denis, Le Hique, Tickets, and DenDen

The 62 Test cap Ireland winger has several nicknames for his blistering speed and slick footwork. ‘Disco Denis’ for his footwork and ability to beat a defender, while ‘Tickets’ is around the saying ‘once he got past you, it’s tickets’.

Gareth Thomas – Alfie

Why rugby player gareth thomas is nicknamed Alfie

A former Wales and British and Irish Lion, Thomas is universally known as Alfie. However, few knew the nickname’s origins until he spoke on Channel 4 in 2021. “It’s in relation to my lookalike. I like to say to people it was like after Michael Kane, Alf the really smooth character but trust me it ain’t. It’s after the American sitcom character called ALF,” Thomas explained.

Jamie Roberts – Doc

The former Wales and British and Irish Lions centre is a qualified doctor, hence the nickname Doc.

Martin Johnson – Ferengi

Martin Johnson - Ferengi nickname rugby

One of rugby’s more brutal nicknames with the former England captain and coach dubbed Ferengi, referencing his furrowed brow frown likened to the extraterrestrial race from the Star Trek universe.

Marcus Smith – Smudge

Marcus Smith gets his nickname from a military tradition, with anyone with the surname Smith being dubbed Smudge.

Owen Farrell – Faz, little Faz

The England captain’s nickname comes from his surname, but he broke through the ranks while his father, Andy Farrell, was still playing. He, therefore, had the nickname ‘Little Faz’ but has largely shaken off the ‘little’.

Maro Itoje – The Pearl

One of the more flattering nicknames on the list, Itoje’s name is derived from the value he brings to any side he plays for.

Sam Warburton – Avatar

Sam Warburton - Avatar rugby nickname

Dan Baugh gave the former Lions captain the nickname, citing that everyone was raving about him when he broke through, with the film Avatar also being big news at the time. Warburton has added that it also has “something to do with my appearance, apparently.”

James Haskell – Always more, Hask

The former England flanker got his nickname during his stint with Stade Francais because of his hunger for more training, baguettes and espresso while his other nickname is more commonly used and is simply a shortening of his surname.

Mike Tindall – Tinds, Magic Mike, The Fridge

The former England centre is more commonly known as Tinds by most rugby fans and pundits alike, but he revealed on the British reality show ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’ that he was also nicknamed ‘Magic Mike’. He was also called ‘The Fridge’ during his career.

Alun Wyn Jones – Alun Gwyn Boots

A nickname that has stuck with Alun Wyn Jones since his first training session with the Ospreys nearly 20 years. The veteran Welsh lock explained that he got the name after he wore a pair of borrowed boots which were bright white, and that white in Welsh is ‘gwyn’.

Ellis Genge – Baby Rhino

The England prop was dubbed ‘Baby Rhino’ by a commentator during a match in 2017; the nickname was fitting considering his bulking ball carries and big hits. He has since launched a brand, ‘Baby Rhino UK’, around the name, running coaching clinics.

Antoine Dupont – The Martian, Ministre de l’Intérieur

The immensely talented France captain is another with nicknames centred around their playing ability. His teammates have been known to call him ‘The Martian’ for his unworldly talent, while he is also called the ‘Ministre de l’Intérieur’ (Minister of the interior) for his gift for supporting a teammate when they make a linebreak or to make one himself on the inside line.

Liam Williams – Sanjay

liam williams sanyjay kapoor

The Wales fullback got the nickname in his youth while on holiday in Scotland, where a family thought he looked like the Eastenders character Sanjay Kapoor.

Danielle Waterman – Nolli

Former England star Danielle Waterman explained the origin of her nickname, which dates back to her birth, in an interview with Sky Sports. “When coming home from being born, one of my brothers had friends called Daniel and Olly, so he put them together and called me Danolli rather than Danielle. I also had a book which was Olly Nolly Elephant, and I became Nolli Elephant because I was quite a chunky little kid. That’s it!” she said.

Elliot Daly – Briefcase

Daly’s nickname dates back to his schoolboy days when he pitched up to a first-team Wasps training session in his school uniform and holding a briefcase.

Johnny Sexton – The Rat

The Ireland captain explained that his nickname has to do with his mood: “It’s the Rat as I can be really grumpy.” Meanwhile, popular YouTuber ‘Squidge Rugby’ has referred to the fly-half by multiple variations of his surname, highlighted in the video below.

Jason Leonard – Fun Bus

The legendary England prop got the nickname from Martin Bayfield, who passed the comment that Leonard looked like a bus while donning a tight red jersey in training.

Cameron Redpath – Boom Boom

Cameron’s nickname is derived from his father, Bryan, who was nicknamed Basil due to the association with the children’s tv character Basil Brush.

Jonathan Davies – Fox

Another Jonathan Davies, the current Scarlets and Wales centre, got his nickname ‘Fox’ because his parents ran a pub called the Fox and Hounds. His younger brother James got the nickname Cubby for the same reason.

Keith Wood – The Raging Potato, Uncle Fester

Keith Wood - The Raging Potato, Uncle Fester

Former World Rugby Player of the Year and Ireland hooker Wood’s nicknames come from his appearance with ‘Uncle Fester’ due to his resemblance to The Addams Family character. ‘The Raging Potato’ comes from his playing style and his bald head.

Ken Owens – Sheriff

A nod to his grandfather, who was the mayor of Carmarthen and council chairman, Owens is known as the Sheriff of Carmarthen or, more simply, Sheriff. The Wales captain for 2023 is also known as Cannonball for his ball-carrying ability.

Tadhg Furlong – Jukebox, Mayor of Wexford, Rikishi

Another player with a few nicknames, Furlong gave himself the nickname Jukebox because ‘the big hits just keep on coming’ while he has been dubbed Rikishi due to a resemblance to a WWE Wrestler of the same name. Mike Ruddock also called Furlong ‘The Mayor of Wexford’, a nickname that has also stuck.

Jason Robinson – Billy Whizz

jason robinson billy whizz

Robinson is nicknamed after a character in the British comic The Beano. In the comic, Billy Whizz is an extremely fast runner, much like Robinson during his playing days.

Sir Ian McGeechan – Geech, Mr. Lions

The legendary Scotland player and coach goes by the nickname ‘Geech’, an abbreviation of his surname but has also been dubbed ‘Mr. Lions’ after touring with the side twice as a player and three times as the head coach.

Brian Moore – Pitbull

A fierce hooker in his playing days, Moore’s approach to the game earned him the nickname Pitbull. He is now a renowned commentator and pundit with a similar approach to his profession.

Gregor Townsend – Toonie

The Scotland head coach’s nickname is yet another that is simply a play on his surname, but it became more in 1995 when his famous reverse pass to Gavin Hastings was dubbed the ‘Toonie flip’.

Brian O’Driscoll – BOD, GOD and Drico

One of Ireland’s all time greats of the game, O’Driscoll was affectionately known as BOD – his initials – which quickly turned to GOD through his incredible performances. It’s believed that he isn’t too fond of the nickname and is often referred to as Drico.

Ronan O’Gara – ROG

Like O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara’s nickname is effectively his initials that became a word in itself.

Paul O’Connell – POC, Psycho

Another Irishman whose initials were used to create a name, but the former Lions captain was also dubbed ‘Psycho’ by teammate Alan Quinlan at Munster due to his intense attitude towards training after breaking into the province’s first team.

Sebastien Chabal – Sea Bass, Caveman

Chabal was previously known as ‘l’homme des cavernes’ (the Caveman) for his long locks and beard but when he moved to the Sale Sharks, he became ‘Sea Bass’ to the fans.

READ MORE: The greatest line-up in the history of the Six Nations Championship