Who are the biggest characters in the Guinness Six Nations?

Ellis Genge celebrates winning a penalty 12/3/2022
We may know all about the qualities of Guinness Six Nations stars on the field but what are they like off it?

We may know all about the qualities of Guinness Six Nations stars on the field but what are they like off it?

From asparagus to coffee and tattoos to fashion, every squad has its larger than life characters who are the heart and soul of the dressing room.

Here, we take a look at one player from each squad who has more than one string to their bow…

Asked what he would do if he were not a rugby player, Ellis Genge replied, “I want to start an asparagus farm.”

That 2018 interview from Genge – nicknamed the Baby Rhino for his aggressive ball-carrying – is one of several amusing on-screen moments.

In 2020, he took umbrage with criticism of the England team, and after scoring the winning try in a Guinness Six Nations victory over Scotland hit back at England’s doubters: “You’ve got a lot of sausages saying things that come to their head.”

Such was the traction his post-match interview gained, t-shirts displaying his comments were soon sold online.

Followers of Genge’s Twitter page will have observed his thoughts on a wide array of subjects down the years, ranging from his eating habits to some head-sized introspection.

But for as fun as he is off the pitch, he is not one to be taken lightly on the field and weighed in with another huge hit as England ended their six-year wait for a win in Cardiff.

A self-confessed aspiring outside half, Dillon Lewis is not your archetypal Welsh tighthead.

Lewis could win his 50th cap in Round 5 of this year’s Championship, but his 48th against England may prove to be just as memorable, after a very special guest visited the Wales changing room post-match.

The Prince of Wales was snapped chatting to Wales’ Mr. Funny, who was quick to post the pictures on his Instagram account.

Away from the pitch, Lewis co-owns a coffee-bean business he launched with his Cardiff Blues teammate Brad Thyer and the pair provide coffee for the Wales team.

Lewis played every game as Wales finished fourth at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, a tournament which changed his life for good, but not quite as he anticipated.

“I bought a dog. I called her Bella the Beagle,” said Lewis.

“I was only home from Japan for three days and I thought ‘I need a dog’. I found her online at about eight o’clock in the evening and drove an hour and a half straight to west Wales that night.

“I drove home without food. I didn’t have a bed for her or anything, but I got up early the next morning and stocked up on everything you need for a dog.”

Many rugby players enjoy circuitous routes to the top, but few can match Thibaud Flament for quite such an unusual ascent.

The France lock has played every minute of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations, and yet his path to the national team involved time spent in Singapore, Belgium, Argentina and famously, Loughborough University’s fifth XV.

The fly-half turned lock had only just turned professional when France reached the quarter-finals of the last World Cup. Now he has become a key figure for Les Bleus at the age of 25, as well as serving as an example to those late bloomers.

Where teammates Romain Ntamack and Antoine Dupont have always been on a path to the highest level, Flament has demonstrated that with a level of determination, there is more than one way to the top.

Danilo Fischetti has never been one to hide his emotion on the pitch – you only have to watch back last year’s Italy win over Wales in Cardiff to be reminded of how Fischetti’s passion is infectious.

The 25-year-old loosehead prop has earned his own fanbase, a rite of passage for an Italian front-rower as he follows in the footsteps of Martin Castrogiovanni and Andrea Lo Cicero.

His selfie with supporters after Italy’s clash with Ireland has already been seen by more than half a million people, while Fischetti’s own TikTok account shows a man who is not afraid to show off some colourful undergarments.

In an Italian team on the rise, he might not quite have the quick feet of Ange Capuozzo or the passing range of Paolo Garbisi. Fischetti is a rising star though, both on and off the pitch.

Notorious for his relaxed approach to life, laid back Mack Hansen has thrived since his introduction to international rugby.

Now a key cog in the relentless Irish machine rumbling towards a potential Grand Slam, the story goes that a barman proved pivotal when it came to how the Australian-born wing ended up signing for Connacht.

Former Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman told RTE’s Against The Head: “Andy Friend’s son drank in the same pub as him and basically they became friends. Apparently he’s good craic.

“[Connacht head coach] Andy heard that he had an Irish passport, so when he went home (to Canberra) he went for a chat and asked the barman what kind of character he was, and he said he’s a good fella.”

Hansen, whose mother hails from Cork, took to life in Galway like a duck to water and was quickly drafted into the Ireland squad, where his stock has continued to rise.

And there is more on the line for Hansen in Round 4 than another potential five points. He has promised former Scotland international Jim Hamilton that he will get a tattoo of the ex-lock should the hosts come out on top at BT Murrayfield…

Stylish on and off the field, Sione Tuipulotu recently revealed a shared love of fashion between himself and Finn Russell has been key to their ever-improving synergy.

“I like shoes and clothes – and Finn, weirdly enough, is really into that type of stuff,” he said. “The type of stuff he wears is pretty out there!

“I don’t know if he always dressed like that or maybe since he’s moved to Paris he’s become quite edgy. He wants to express his style like that, and I enjoy it, so we often send each other stuff on Instagram.

“I suppose it is just something pretty chill, away from the game, we’ve bonded over.”

The 26-year-old has certainly not been laying out the red carpet for opponents of late, forming one half of arguably the 2023 Championship’s most impressive centre partnership so far alongside Huw Jones.

He carries the words of his proud Scottish grandmother, Jaqueline, in his ear when he pulls on the jersey but admits he sometimes needs the assistance of Glasgow Warriors teammates to decipher her notes of support.

“She messages me Scottish phrases on Facebook,” he told BBC Sport. “She says ‘out and about’ and puts quadruple o’s in it.

“Sometimes I have to ask Duncy [Weir] what it means. Duncy’s my translator.”