White Rock rugby player Adam Kleeberger may soon have some competition for best beard at the Rugby World Cup.
That’s because on Wednesday, 14 members of the Semiahmoo Old Boys rugby team boarded a plane bound for New Zealand, where they planned to take in some games and cheer on Kleeberger – a Bayside Sharks alum – and his Canadian teammates.
“And we all have Canada jerseys and Kleeberger beards,” said Jonathan Boughen, an SOB player and also president of Bayside Rugby.
“They’re fake beards, but still… maybe we’ll even get on TV.”
Since the World Cup began earlier this month, Kleeberger, a 27-yeard-old Semiahmoo Secondary grad, has gained notoriety not just for his play – he was named man-of-the-match in Canada’s win over Tonga – but also for his facial hair. Numerous stories in the national media focused solely on his beard, which gives Kleeberger a Viking-esque appearance.
“It’s huge… pretty great,” said Boughen. “We’re really looking forward to the trip – there’s a lot of really excited people.”
The 14 SOBs making the trip plan on catching four games, including Canada/Japan Tuesday. Canada is 1-1 thus far in the tournament; after beating Tonga in the opening game, they lost 46-19 to France. They also have a handful of other activities planned, including sheep-shearing, and a game of touch-rugby on the beach against a local Maori rugby side.
Closer to home, Bayside Rugby will also be showing all the games at their South Surrey clubhouse, and Sawbucks Pub, Boughen said, has also been showing select contests.
At the clubhouse, the games are shown live, which because of the time difference between here and New Zealand, means most games don’t start until after midnight. Canada’s game against France, for example, didn’t kick off until 1:30 a.m. local time. But still, viewer turnout was good, Boughen said.
“There’s a lot of guys who are staying up late,” he said.
“It’s a lot more fun watching with a group of people than it is watching alone in your basement.”
The SOBs return Oct. 3.