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Thread: The fascinating list of nicknames for all the Rugby World Cup teams

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    The fascinating list of nicknames for all the Rugby World Cup teams

    The fascinating list of nicknames for all the Rugby World Cup teams
    Story by Dylan Coetzee •

    The Rugby World Cup is on our doorstep and as the teams gear up their preparation for the event so do we, taking a deeper look at all the countries involved.

    Most teams at the global showpiece have specific nicknames associated with them and Planet Rugby unveils what they are and in some cases how they were obtained.

    Pool A
    New Zealand – The All Blacks

    The nickname is believed to originate in 1905 from the colour of the kit the New Zealanders wore. That is still the case today where the primary strip includes a black jersey, black shorts and black socks. During the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the players even wore black boots to match.


    France – Les Bleus

    Similar to how the New Zealanders got their nicknames, the French national side runs out in all blue which resulted in the nickname Les Bleus.

    Italy – The Azzurri

    Interestingly the rugby and football men’s national teams share the same nickname once again based on the colour of the side.

    Uruguay – Los Teros

    The South American side is named after the national bird known as Tero or a Southern Lapwing. The same bird features on the team crest and is a core part of the side’s identity.

    Namibia – Welwitschias

    The team is named after one of the famous plants native to the country known as Welwitschia. The plant is adapted to desert conditions by spreading itself widely across the ground to catch as much moisture as possible.

    Pool B
    Ireland – N/A

    The world’s top-ranked side does not have a nickname specific to their team.

    South Africa – Springboks

    The defending champions are named after a small antelope found in the country that is particularly agile. The team name was almost changed after the end of apartheid but it was decided that it would be kept.

    Scotland – N/A

    The team does not have a known nickname.

    Tonga – Ikale Tahi

    The team name translates to ‘Sea Eagles’. Fascinatingly there are actually no Sea Eagles in Tonga, however, the name is used because of the qualities of the birds which include courage and majesty.

    Romania – The Oaks

    The national side is named after the majestic Oaks that can be found in the country. The trees are unique to Romania.

    Pool C
    Australia – Wallabies

    The side is named after a small kangaroo and they first used the name in 1908 after the British press called them ‘the Rabbits’ on a tour.


    Wales – Dragons

    Dragons are a huge part of Welsh culture dating back to the fifth century when it was adopted to symbolise power and authority when the Romans retreated out of Britain. The symbol can even be seen on the country’s flag.

    Fiji – Flying Fijians

    The name is derived from the style of play typical to the side that is usually loaded with flair and risk producing some stunning rugby as a result.

    Georgia – Lelos

    The rapidly emerging rugby nation got its nickname from a traditional Georgian sport known as Lelos Burti. The game is believed to have some similarities with rugby union thus providing the side with their name.

    Portugal – Os Lobos

    The name translates to ‘The Wolves’ which is centred around staying together as a pack and working as a unit – all cornerstones of the game.

    Pool D
    Argentina – Los Pumas

    The name was given to the team in 1965 based on the animal in their emblem. However, it was actually incorrect as the big cat in the team crest was in fact a jaguar and not a puma. Nevertheless, the name stuck.


    England – Red Rose

    The name is centred around the team emblem which is, you guessed it, a Red Rose. Not to be confused with Red Roses which is the team name for the women’s side.

    Japan – Brave Blossoms

    Originally the Cherry Blossoms after a beautiful tree native to the country but officially became the Brave Blossoms after repeated use of the term in the media.

    Samoa – Manu Samoa

    The name is said to be that of a historic warrior chief from several generations ago who typified courage.

    Chile – Condores

    The South American are named after Condors, the national bird which appears on their crest.

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    I remember when they used to call Namibia the "Biltongboere"

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    Quote Originally Posted by .X. View Post
    The fascinating list of nicknames for all the Rugby World Cup teams
    Story by Dylan Coetzee •
    Romania – The Oaks

    The national side is named after the majestic Oaks that can be found in the country. The trees are unique to Romania.
    Oak trees are far from unique to Romania!

    I also wouldn't say that the England (men's) rugby team has a nickname. The red rose is the emblem, not the nickname.

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