Many teams at the Rugby World Cup have nicknames, read on to find out who and why

The Rugby World Cup is fast approaching and 20 teams will battle it out for the Webb Ellis Cup. But while on the team sheets the country name will be displayed, fans and commentators may refer to different teams by their nicknames.

There are many countries with a nickname, primarily southern hemisphere sides. There are one or two in the northern hemisphere too, here are the nicknames and how the countries got them.

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Rugby World Cup: Why are they called the All Blacks?

New Zealand’s team are commonly known as the All Blacks. The name, thought to originate back in 1905, came because the team’s uniform was all black. The team continue to wear the colour to this day.

Why are they called the Wallabies?

Australia got their nickname in 1908 when they toured Britain. The press named the team the ‘rabbits’ which the team did not like. The Daily Mail asked the Australia players to vote on a name they would call them and they decided on Wallabies.

Rugby World Cup: Why are they called the Springboks?

South Africa’s team are nicknamed the Springboks because the animal has been on their shirt for over 100 years. The word Springbok comes from Afrikaans words. “Spring” which means jump and the word “bok” which means buck or antelope.

Why are they called Les Bleus?

France have their nickname because they where all blue kit. Fans can be heard chanting “allez les bleus” during matches which means “go the blues”.

Why are they called Teros?

Uruguay have the nickname Teros and it originates from the emblem on their shirt. It has the country’s national bird on it, the southern lapwing, which is also known as a tero.

Rugby World Cup: Why are they called Lelos?

Georgia also have a nicknamed and it is Lelos. This name represents another sport they play in the country which has some similar physical characteristics to rugby, called lelo burti.

Why are they called the Brave Blossoms?

Japan’s nickname started as the Cherry Blossoms, primarily in England. In 2003 a journalist called Rich Freeman called Japan the Brave Blossoms so he did not have to keep repeating Japan.

He told World Rugby: “From 2003 I started using ‘Brave Blossoms’ every now and again to break up the copy rather than just ‘Japan, Japan, Japan’ and I stuck with it.”

“The Japan RFU weren’t very happy at first and didn’t like it being used. I used to write the English-language pages on their website and they would always take it out and replace it with ‘Japan’.”

“But in 2009 the Classic All Blacks were over and Andrew Mehrtens used it in the post-match interview in front of the whole crowd in Kobe.

“The JRFU thought ‘Maybe this nickname isn’t such a bad idea’, and since the win over South Africa they’ve really marketed it. Now we’re seeing ‘We are Brave Blossoms’ in the street, on shirts and everywhere.”

Why are they called Pumas?

Argentina’s nickname came in 1965 when journalist Carl Kohler wanted to create one for the team. He spotted an animal on the team’s crest and knowing pumas were in the Americas, he called them that. The crest actually depicts a jaguar so the nickname was actually a mistake.

Rugby World Cup: Why are they called Condores?

Chile have the nickname of los Condores, which means condor in English. It is the name of a bird, the condor is the national bird of Chile.

Why are they called ʻIkale Tahi?

Tonga are called ʻIkale Tahi which translates to sea eagles. There are no sea eagles in Tonga but the animal symbolises courage and majesty.

Why are they called the Azzurri?

Similar to France, Italy are called the Azzurri because it translates to the blues. The team where an all blue kit.

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