SPORTS

Two-thirds of beardos return to rugby duty with Canadian national team

11/02/2013 04:25 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
TORONTO - Sunday's rugby test match between Canada and the Maori All Blacks represents a reunion of the so-called beardos. Sort of.

Canadian forwards Hubert Buydens, Adam Kleeberger and Jebb Sinclair turned heads at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand for their mountain men beards.

Kleeberger, sans beard, has returned to the national team fold after shoulder surgery and back problems. The still bearded Buydens is also back.

But Sinclair remains with his English club team London Irish. The Fredericton native is expected to join Canada for games later this month in Georgia, Romania and Portugal.

Buydens says he still gets attention as a member of the beardos.

"Oftentimes I still get confused with Kleeberger even though he hasn't had a beard in two years," the burly prop from Saskatoon said with a laugh.

Kleeberger shaved his 30-centimetre-long beard after the World Cup, raising $12,000 for charity.

He is clean-shaven these days and has no immediate plans to put the razor away.

"It would be pretty hard for me to bring it back, just because it was such a big thing" said the native of White Rock, B.C. "And I'd feel like I would be cheating it if I did it again.

"But we'll see."

Kleeberger started growing his beard some seven months ago before the World Cup while recovering from injury.

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