Rugby World Cup 2011
Bearded wonder 'misses face'
The bearded Adam Kleeberger(AFP)
Auckland - Impressively bearded Canadian flank Adam Kleeberger has disappointed his growing army of fans by announcing he will lose his trademark whiskers at the end of the World Cup.
The fearsome-looking Kleeberger, whose caveman-style outcrop is so distinctive it has been trending on Twitter, said the seven-month growth would be gone in a whisker when the Canucks depart the tournament.
"It would be pretty hard for me not to shave it off. I kind of miss having my face," he told the Rugby World Cup website.
"But right now I'm just focusing on this Rugby World Cup and I'll think about that afterwards."
The modest Kleeberger attracted headlines such as "Fear the beard" and "Kleeberger helps his country win by a hair" after his man-of-the-match display in Canada's win over Tonga on Wednesday.
"Kleeberger is 27 but his beard looks a bit older," quipped one commentator.
He is the leader in the pack of a team packed with facial adornments, with Hubert Buydens and Jebb Sinclair both working the wildman look at the World Cup.
And Kleeberger, who currently turns out for Canada's British Columbia Bears, is hoping his sudden and unsolicited fame may help him catch the eye of a new professional club.
"If it does then that's great," he said. "I didn't really have a reason for growing the beard when I started and it's now got more attention than I ever thought possible.
"So if that comes (a contract), hopefully it's based on the way I'm playing as well. But it would be nice."