South Africa's lock RG Snyman's lock have drawn attention
South Africa's lock RG Snyman's lock have drawn attention AFP / Adrian DENNIS

With the Rugby World Cup in full flow, players have been lighting up the tournament with their power and skill -- but many are catching the eye with their outlandish hairstyles.

Football's preening stars have long used their sport's biggest stage to make some dubious fashion statements, from David Beckham's mohican to Roberto Baggio's ponytail.

Now as rugby's titans unveil some of the wackiest hairdos ever seen at a World Cup, expect the odd bad hair day in Japan -- or in many cases crimes against hairdressing.

If hulking England prop Joe Marler looks like an extra in a "Mad Max" movie with a light blonde quiff atop trimmed sides and a bushy beard, Georgia fly-half Lasha Malaguradze resembles a dashing army officer with his short, slicked-back hair and waxed moustache.

Leading Japanese hair stylist Yuriko Karasawa combed through some of the World Cup's more elaborate efforts and spotted a "problem" with Marler's rugged look.

"He looks other-worldly," she told AFP. "It's like his head is upside down -- the beard looks like it should be where his hair is and the blonde tuft the beard. He will be easy to spot in games for sure, but it's not a winning look."

Karasawa, who coiffures Japanese celebrities in Tokyo's swanky Omotesando area, gave top marks to Malaguradze.

"Ooh, he's a dish," she said. "Right on point, spot on -- and that moustache looks fab."

Meanwhile, others players look less as if they are trying to make a fashion statement than they lost a bet -- step forward New Zealand's Jack Goodhue, whose eighties mullet brought tears to Karasawa's eyes.

"I wouldn't say it's criminal exactly, but if my boyfriend did something like that I would cry," she winced.

"David Bowie had a cut like that once -- but he's not David Bowie! That's not a look Japanese women go for."

'Oven scourer'

Informed Uruguay hooker German Kessler also had a mullet, Karasawa whispered: "Why, oh why?"

But even such throwback topiary pales in comparison to Russia's Andrey Garbuzov, who plumped for a no-nonsense bowl cut -- one Karasawa suggested may have been a solo effort by the chunky flanker.

"It looks like he's had a go at that fringe himself," she said. "It makes his face look huge -- he needs to chop it all off."

French winger Maxime Medard fared little better with his "X-Men" Wolverine sideburns and bouffant hair.

"Way too bristly," said Karasawa. "The hair and the beard -- he looks like an oven scourer. He's a handsome guy so he needs to trim it all up to accentuate his face."

South African S'busiso Nkosi got the thumbs up for his Steve Wonder braids, as did All Black Ardie Savea's mop-top -- but giant Springbok RG Snyman's shaggy hair and wild beard drew a blank.

"Maybe he doesn't go to a barber at all," offered Karasawa. "He has a nice face but you can hardly see it -- he'd look better off with a skinhead."

Karasawa similarly suggested Japan's Shota Horie "tidy up" his dreadlocks, while admitting Springboks scrum-half Faf de Clerk's long, blonde locks were a little too "Baywatch" windswept for her taste.

"I'd personally advise against this look," she said. "He looks like an eighties idol. He must sort that out."