Rugby and tattoo art go together very well so we have put some questions to one of the most valued English players. The one with a human skull on his hand…

Joshua “Josh” Charnley is an English professional rugby league footballer who plays on the wing for the Warrington Wolves in the Super League (eleven teams from England and one from France) and since 2012 has been an England international representative too.

Josh Charnley, Warrington Wolves
Josh Charnley, Warrington Wolves

In the following chat he told us all about his love for ink and tattoo art, as well as the subjects and meanings of his terrific pieces. Let’s go to the pitch with him!

Hi Josh, how and when did you get this great love of tattoo?
Well, once I got my first tattoo I immediately got the bug and I couldn’t stop at just one.

Do you remember your first tattoo at all? Do you still have it or has it been covered up in the meanwhile?
Yes, I’ve still got it. It’s a tribal one on my upper right arm. I’d like to get it covered but it’s just time now to get under the needle again…

What about your back? Are you tattooed there?
No, but I’d like something big!

I suppose the wolf – that you have tattooed on the inner side of your right thigh – is it a huge tribute to Warrington Wolves…
No, my son’s middle name is Wolfe and no, we didn’t call him that after Warrington. (smiles)

Am I wrong or are you a big mandala fan?
Not a big fan, I just like how they are a good space filler.

Why have you got a large ram skull tattooed on your belly?
I helped out on a farm and kept finding skulls around the land. I like how detailed you can make them so I wanted it big. And my belly, obviously, it was! (laughs)

Why have you got that human skull on your right hand? You grip the ball with that hand…
I just wanted a skull on my hand and we came up with this one with a rose because they were my nana’s favourite flower.

Can you tell me the names of your favourite and most trusted tattoo artist you’ve met so far?
He’s called Mark Goulding from Chorley, in Lancashire county. His shop is called “Marked4life Tattoo studio”.

Josh Charnley, Warrington Wolves
Josh Charnley, Warrington Wolves

Will you be getting tattooed again in the next few months? Any work in progress ideas?
Yes, I’ve got my right arm to still complete plus my leg sleeve needs finishing. Tthen I can start on somewhere new.

Last question: do you think rugby and the tattoo world have a lot in common or does any sport go well with tattoos?
Not all sports can rock heavy tattoos, I think you’ve got to have the image for it.

Ph credits by Stuart McKendrick