We take a look at five international rugby players who have changed their birth names for personal, family and even sponsorship reasons!
The English captain may be one one of the most recognisable players in rugby, but few people know that Owen Farrell was born Owen O’Loughlin. Owen is the son of Irish head coach Andy Farrell, who has been married to Colleen O’Loughlin since 1995. When Owen was born, it was actually under his mother’s surname that he was registered.
Owen’s uncle (Andy Farrell’s brother-in-law) is rugby league legend Sean O’Loughlin.
The Fijian flier who previously starred for the Crusaders but now terrorises defences for Leicester Tigers was born Nemani Nasiganyavi. Nadolo chose to take his mother’s name in 2009 as his father was not present in his life when he was young. Nadolo is also the cousin of Australian outside centre Tevita Kuridrani.
Legendary English eighthman Lawrence Dallaglio’s full name is: Lorenzo Bruno Nero Dallaglio. The abrasive back-rower was born in London to an Italian father (Vincenzo) and an Irish mother (Eileen) and at one stage was courted by the English, Irish and Italian national rugby teams. Eventually Dallaglio chose the red rose of England, where he had grown up, and Anglicised his first name.
Born Lukhan Tui, the Australian international decided to change his surname to credit those most influential in his upbringing. In 2018, after the passing of the step-father who had raised him, Lukhan took his last name (Salakaia) and hyphenated it with part of his birth father’s surname (Loto).
Perhaps the most humorous and most controversial of all the name changes on this list, Epeli Taione briefly changed his name top Paddy Power (the name of an Irish sports betting company) for the duration of the 2007 Rugby World Cup as part of a sponsorship deal. The sponsorship deal reportedly financed all of Tonga’s preparations for the tournament, in which they nearly beat eventual Champions, South Africa.