‘Snorlax’, ‘Bieber’: Brilliant 2021 Lions nicknames

Following last week’s British & Irish Lions squad announcement, check out some of the players’ nicknames and the reasons they were given them.

Liam Williams: ‘Sanjay’

It was while he was on holiday in Greece as a small boy that another British family thought the Saracens-bound star looked like Sanjay Kapoor, a character from British TV soap opera ‘Eastenders’. The name stuck.

 Liam Williams

Robbie Henshaw: ‘One Man Band’

Henshaw’s musical and sporting versatility have earned him the nickname One Man Band among his teammates. His family has a lot of musical talent, with the Irish centre himself playing the accordion, fiddle, guitar and piano.

Elliot Daly: ‘Briefcase’

The England star got his nickname after turning up at his first training session with Wasps in his school uniform, carrying a briefcase.

Ali Price: ‘Ah-ha-li Price’

His nickname among his teammates at Glasgow is Ah-ha-li Price in reference to another famous Norfolk resident, Alan Partridge, famously played by British comedian Steve Coogan. ‘Aha’ was the character’s catchphrase on 90s chatshow ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’.

Mako Vunipola: ‘Snorlax’

Vunipola has earned a reputation on tours for his enjoyment of napping. Hence the nickname Snorlax, after the hulking Pokémon with narcolepsy.

Hamish Watson: ‘Pinball’

The nickname is in reference to his unique running style when he bounces off several players over a short distance while carrying the ball.

Tadhg Furlong: ‘Rikishi’

The Irish tighthead says of his nickname: ‘My belly gets a good flash on national television.

‘It came up in the video review, Joe Schmidt said: “Oh, here comes WWF…”, not even WWE so, WWF, we’re going back a few years. And, of course, the lads jumped on the bandwagon and started calling me Rikishi, the big fat wrestler!’

Taulupe Faletau: ‘Toby’

Faletau picked up the nickname during his school years after his friends struggled to pronounce his first name. He has requested that his rugby-squad name be recorded more accurately as Taulupe, but does not mind being called Toby by his teammates.

Maro Itoje: ‘Pearl’

Called the Pearl by Saracens and England teammates for a perceived preciousness to the sides he plays in.

Louis Rees-Zammit: ‘Res-Lightning’

A play on his rapid speed and Grease Lightning from the famous American musical.

Conor Murray: ‘Bieber’

He was lumbered with the nickname by the Irish squad on their 2012 tour to New Zealand.

Alun Wyn Jones: ‘Gwyn Boots’

As an 18-year-old, the current Wales and British & Irish Lions skipper showed up at a training session at the Ospreys in bright white boots. The Welsh word for white is gwyn.

Ken Owens: ‘Sheriff’

A nod to his grandfather, who served as mayor of Carmarthen and council chairman. Also known as ‘Cannonball’ for his ball-carrying.

Courtney Lawes: ‘Corpse/Big Goose’

Northampton Saints teammate George North was the first to give away Lawes’ nicknames, but not the reasons behind them. Big Goose is obvious, as Lawes lines up at 2,01m while Corpse is probably a play on his first name.

Iain Henderson: ‘Llama’

Given his nickname by Donncha O’Callaghan after the former Ireland lock first saw the bearded Ulsterman tucking into a bowl of cereal for breakfast.

Photo: Harry Trump/Getty Images