However, here in the 21st century, there’s a new climate. Wearing a pair of skinny jeans out for pints off the pitch is no longer the cause for a ribbing it once was, and you’re just as likely to see an expertly trimmed disconnected undercut poking out the top of a scrum as you are a stubbly, bald, cannonball bonce.
For an example of this hairy paradigm shift, you need look no further than the heads of the Six Nations Championship lads, who have seen the competition off to a roaring start with some excellent play, but, more importantly, some very admirable lids.
With that in mind, we hit up some of the UK’s leading barbers for their tips on how you can replicate our favourite styles from each of the competing teams.
Italy – Jayden Hayward’s Slicked-Back Disconnect
If you’re going to adopt one style element after watching Peaky Blinders, please make it the hairstyles and not the Mumford & Sons-esque tailoring. Disconnected styles have seen a huge surge in popularity over recent years – thanks in no small part to Tommy Shelby and his band of Brummy brothers – and Italy’s Jayden Hayward is one more man who’s rocking the look for himself.
“This look works for most face shapes and even helps to disguise a receding hairline or finer hair,” explains Jason Collier, hairstylist to everyone from Justin Timberlake to Eva Longoria. “So it can be adapted to suit most men’s requirements.”
Collier suggests asking your barber for a style that’s high and tight on the sides, with a disconnect on top, keeping slightly more length in the fringe.
“I always maintain that if you’re opting for a specific style, it’s best to bring images with you that show the style clearly and ideally from the front and from the back,” Collier continues. “That way, both you and your barber are clear on the end goal.”
…Or should that be ‘try’?
France – Maxime Machenaud’s Messy Textured Mop
If you’re the type of guy who values an extra 10 minutes of bed in the morning above almost anything else, then a natural, textured style may be just what you’re after. France’s Maxime Machenaud knows what we’re talking about. The fact it looks great too is merely a bonus.
“The key features of this style are length and natural texture,” says Mikey Pearson, director of Manifesto barbershop in London. “The length works nicely as it helps to add a touch of softness.”
Mikey continues: “Ask your barber for a scissor cut, back and sides graduated. The top should be cut short to long, keeping the fringe disconnected.
“To make things easier, don’t be afraid to take a picture with you to show your barber, especially if it’s the first time they cut your hair. You can’t go wrong with length and style then.”
In terms of styling at home, Pearson suggests towel drying, applying a cream-based product and allowing the hair to dry naturally for best results.
Scotland – David Denton’s Natural Length
Rugby and shoulder-length hair don’t traditionally go together, but that hasn’t stopped Scotland’s David Denton from dodging the clippers for the past few years running. However, before you opt for this style you should be aware that while it looks low-maintenance, a trim like this actually takes quite a bit of upkeep. International hairdresser and owner of 12 highly acclaimed London salons, Joseph Lanzante, explains.
“Long hair is the next big look in male grooming,” explains Lanzante. “This style is defined by volume & texture and works well with all types of hair; thick or thin, you can still create the David Denton look.
“This cut will take a little more maintenance; you will have to get it cropped on a regular basis to ensure you keep the right length.”
In terms of home styling, Lanzante recommends letting your hair fall naturally, as opposed to forcing it into place.
“Choose the right products to help create volume and texture, such as a paste or sea salt spray, be careful not to overuse your hair products as this can weigh down your hair,” he explains. “Rub the product into your hands until its nearly gone and slide it through the ends.”
England – Anthony Watson’s Twists & Skin Fade
For thicker, Afro-type hair, England’s Anthony Watson has cultivated the perfect style. In fact, if anything is going to win England the Six Nations Championship, our money’s on it being his first-rate barnet. Want to replicate it for yourself? We tapped Joe&Co’s very own Joe Mills for his esteemed opinion on the matter.
“Antony’s hair has really come into its own,” explains Mills “The length on top has been shaped into short compact twists and naturally falls to one side. His hair is actually a lot longer on top but looks shorter because of the twists. The back and sides have then been disconnected with a skin fade.”
To help your barber, Mills suggests asking him/her to section the top away from the sides and then to create a skin fade at your preferred length. “Next, find out which way your hair naturally falls,” Mills continues. “Don’t force it, it won’t work. Hair grows clockwise or anti clockwise, so it will want to go one way.
You’ll want to do the last step at home. Take the hair into small sections and twist them together until they lock up. You can use a gel or even beeswax to help get the process started.
Ireland – Jordi Murphy’s Versatile Choppy Quiff
It’s tricky in contact sports to settle on a hairstyle that’s A) practical on the pitch, and B) looks good off it, too. Jordi Murphy’s short, choppy cut is a veritable Swiss army knife when it comes to styling, meaning the Irish player can transition from back row to black tie with just a few minor adjustments to his lid. Sound good? Here’s how to get the look for yourself.
“Rugby, as we know, is a contact sport so it looks like Jordi has gone for a cut that can be practical on the pitch and then maybe smartened up when off,” agrees Paul Burfoot, founder of Fish hairstyling. This has been achieved by taking the sides short and cutting the top into a quiff, which looks good both messy or slicked back.
“Ask your barber for a grade 2-3 on the sides with medium choppy length on top leaving a quiff at the front, request that the layers are chipped into rather than blunt cut to give a more relaxed look.”
As for styling at home, Burfoot recommends towel drying the hair after washing and then brushing back. Once this has been done you can either run your fingers back through to create a relaxed look, or if a certain finish is required, you could use either a matte or shine product to achieve your desired look.
Wales – Rhys Webb’s Short, Cropped Disconnect
Short back and sides doesn’t have to mean boring. At least not when you throw in skinfades, tight graduations and a dash of facial hair. Welsh scrum-half Rhys Webb knows what we’re talking about and he’s living proof that throwback military-style cuts are still some of the most timeless trims a man can get.
“The key features of this style are the disconnection, texture and movement of the hair,” explains Mark Woolley, the man behind respected hair empire, Electric Hairdressing. “Rhys has a great face and head shape to work with which means that he is able to take on a disconnected cut that brings the shorter sides to a height above the temples. The hair on top has a great, natural-looking texture which when combined with the added height makes for a masculine cut that helps to lengthen the face.”
So, what should you be asking you barber for?
“You want to ask your barber for a short cut around the back and sides,” says Woolley. “They should be able to help you work out how high up to take this to compliment your face. You then want the longer hair on top to graduate from shorter at the back to longer at the front, allowing for that pushed back height.