Long gone are the token spivvy moustaches of the 80s or the squeaky clean-shaven days of the 90s (when the best you could expect was for a few of the forwards not to shave on the morning of the match).
Now we must simply "Fear the Beard" - the war-cry from the Hayman's Beard blog. The big man from Otago's facial growth has not been the result of a whim or of following fashion but has been very much part of his psyche for the last few years (and his clean-shaven look in the Rugby World Cup quarter final was noticeably unsuccessful). Sebastian Chabal, too, has bucked the trend over the last few seasons with his barnet and beard very much modelled on the neanderthal era, whilst England's George Chuter's formerly trimmed stubble morphed magnificently into a splendidly bushy Victorian woolly mass during the Rugby World Cup.
And now, not only has the Premiership started to attract the world's top players to its ranks, it is also setting the standards for facial fashion. Chuter's colleagues at Leicester Tigers have started a "Grow a Mo for Hambo" campaign to raise money to help sufferers from spinal injuries via the Matt Hampson Trust Fund - encouraging Premiership players to donate £5 and grow a moustache. Andy Goode's spectacular effort is the pick of the bunch so far, with an honourable mention to Geordan "Wyatt Earp" Murphy, but we can expect further efforts throughout England in the coming weeks. Furthermore, in honour of Carl Hayman's imminent arrival at Newcastle Falcons, the club has decreed that December 16th will be "National Geordie Beard Day," with players being encouraged to grow beards in support of the Wooden Spoon charity. As the Falcons' commercial director Mick Hogan puts it:
"Rigorous scientific tests have proved that Carl derives his immense power and scrummaging ability from his trademark beard, and we have received the full support of the National Beard and Moustache Association!"So, a message to the likes of Gavin Henson, James Hook and Toby Flood:- the days of heavily gelled spiky hair, shaved legs and fake orange tan are gone. Get with the programme - REAL MEN WEAR BEARDS!