The big beard Lions captain Joshua Strauss had grown while he waited for his girlfriend to relocate from Cape Town was forcefully removed by teammate Wikus van Heerden after Saturday’s Currie Cup Final victory against the Sharks.
The big No.8 has developed quite a following thanks to his robust playing style and distinctive mass of facial hair, with fans in the crowd sporting fake beards at Lions home games this season.
“They caught me offside,” said an almost unrecognisable Strauss.
“The guys said they were going to do it, but after nothing happened in the dressing room I relaxed and thought they would let it go,” he explained.
As the team sat down for their post match meal on Saturday, the Lions skipper noticed that some of his teammates were laughing and before he realised what was happening Van Heerden, manned with a razor, had snuck up behind him and cut away a huge chunk of the famous facial hair.
“I couldn’t argue because the damage was already done. I simply had to be a sport,” said Strauss.
Although he was slightly upset that the one thing that made him unique was no longer there, he also admitted that it felt good to have a more tidy appearance.
Not that the clean shaven look will last very long.
“I’ve already started growing my beard for the Super Rugby season,” he said.
Strauss would not be told that the loss of such a huge amount of hair would have consequences of Biblical proportions as it did for Samson.
“I guess it is one of those things that once it works for you, you have to stick with it,” he quipped.
The Lions spent most of their first day as Currie Cup champions at the casino signing autographs as hundreds of fans made use of the opportunity to get close to their heroes.
“The support was overwhelming and we are realising just how important the trophy is to all our fans,” said Strauss.