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Rugby World Cup stars & their favourite tattoos


As the 2023 Rugby World Cup unfolds across nine match venues in France from September 8 to October 28, the world watches not just for the sheer athleticism, incredible tackles, and breathtaking tries, but also for the rich, personal narratives of the players. This tournament offers a stage where stories unfold not only through the game but also through the ink on the players' skin.

From England's Courtney Lawes to New Zealand's Ardie Savea, tattoos serve as silent yet powerful expressions of identity, tradition, and belief for these world-class athletes. Join us as we delve into the fascinating world of Rugby World Cup stars and their favourite tattoos, revealing the stories that lie beneath the surface.


man blocking during Rugby game


Courtney Lawes' tattoos

Courtney Lawes, the English flanker, has been a significant force in England's Rugby Union World Cup campaign. While his on-field prowess captivates audiences, his tattoos also draw significant attention. With 16 pieces of body art, each telling a different story, Lawes' multiple tattoos range from tributes to his parents to symbols of strength and protection. His most noted pieces include a koi carp for good luck, a Maori design on his right arm, and Roman numerals signifying his daughter's birth date.

Here's a breakdown of what Courtney Lawes' full tattoos mean:

Left arm

  • Koi carp: This tattoo design is for good luck. The koi carp is often a symbol of good fortune in Japanese culture.
  • Mask: This is to keep away bad spirits, another nod to Japanese culture and beliefs.
  • Samurai: Represents a warrior, signifying his battling spirit on the rugby pitch and in life.
  • Tiger: To represent a beast, perhaps symbolising his tenacity and fierceness.

Right arm

  • Maori design: Lawes mentioned he liked the design. Maori tattoos (or "moko") are a part of Maori culture and typically signify a rite of passage or personal accomplishment.
  • Writing: The text "I owe it all to you Mum and Dad" shows gratitude towards his parents.


  • The best of times is now: This tattoo serves as a daily reminder for him to live life to the fullest, as one never knows when it will end.

Chest and shoulders

  • Tribal design: Represents strength, power, and protection, elements that are obviously crucial in his sport of rugby.
  • Cross: This integrates his religious beliefs into his tattoo collection.

Ring finger

  • Roman numerals: These numerals convert to his daughter’s birthday, a sentimental tribute to family.

Manu Tuilagi's tattoos

Manu Tuilagi, another powerhouse amongst the England rugby stars, wears his Samoan heritage proudly—quite literally—on his sleeve. A 14-hour-long, painful tattooing session in Samoa resulted in an intricate design that runs across his right arm. His body art is hard to miss, whether on show at England's training venue or on the pitch!

Tuilagi's tattoo is a traditional Samoan pattern with five stars on his elbow representing the Samoa flag. Every line and swirl narrates a different story of his family's heritage and Samoan background.

In Samoan culture, tattoos are not just pieces of art; they are rites of passage and narrate stories of heritage, family, and personal achievements. Tuilagi reveals that his tattoo represents different stories from his Samoan background, making the pain he endured worth the lifetime of meaning he now carries on his arm.


rugby player holding a rugby ball


When it comes to achieving the perfect tribal tattoo like Manu Tuilagi's, tattoo artists often rely on high-quality tattoo ink since to bring their designs to life. Intenze -Suluape Black Samoan Tribal ink is an excellent choice for such intricate work. Its deep black pigment and smooth consistency make it ideal for creating bold lines and intricate details that define tribal tattoos. So, if you're looking to create a masterpiece like Tuilagi's, consider using Intenze -Suluape Black Samoan Tribal ink to achieve stunning results.

Missing England rugby stars with body art

Jack Nowell is another English star with an impressive collection of body art. However, sInce Steve Borthwick took over the England job from Eddie Jones, he's not been picked to appear for the national side. Jack Nowell also declared himself unavailable for this year's World Cup, so we won't be seeing his tattoos in and around the team hotel this year.

Ardie Savea tattoos

New Zealand's Ardie Savea has also joined the ranks of Rugby Union World Cup stars with meaningful tattoos. Savea's tattoos serve as a touching tribute to his family.

Still in school when he got his first tattoo, Savea chose a design that encircles his neck featuring his surname and six stars representing his family members. His left inner arm showcases a tattoo of a beautiful Samoan woman—his mother. The hibiscus flowers included in the design are a nod to his grandmother's favourite flower. Further up on his arm, his father is honoured, emphasising the family's central role in his life and career.

To ensure that tattoos like Savea's heal properly and maintain their vibrancy, it's essential to use a high-quality tattoo aftercare product like MTS tattoo balm. This specially formulated balm is designed to moisturise and protect fresh tattoos, helping them heal faster and maintain their colors


rugby player ready to kick the ball



As the 2023 Rugby Union World Cup gets nearer to its climax, we're reminded that the beauty of this global event extends far beyond the exhilarating matches and jaw-dropping athletic feats. The tattoos offer us a profound look into the multifaceted lives of these exceptional athletes. These inked narratives—each a unique tapestry of heritage, belief, and personal significance—add an extra layer of depth to the spectacle, transforming each player from a face on the field to a storied individual with experiences that resonate on a universal level.

In a way, these tattoos mirror the essence of rugby itself: a blend of strength, artistry, and complex strategies, both seen and unseen.


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  • Mark Joshua Luz