Forget the Henson, the Trundle and the Beckham
Byline: By TRYST WILLIAMS Western Mail
For decades the hairstyle of choice for dapper young Welshmen has been modelled on the iconic popstar or football player of the day. But thanks to the likes of Gavin Henson and Shane Williams Welsh rugby has been catching up fast, giving a new twist to jargon such as 'locks', 'the scissors' and 'the flick'.
Now hairdressers in Swansea say the arrival of one of the sport's most iconic hairdos could herald the Welshman's equivalent of asking for 'a Rachel' in barbershops and salons throughout the city.
Mark Jermin, director of Mark Jermin Salon in Kingsway, expected the arrival of New Zealand legend Justin Marshall for the Ospreys' new season to spark a scrum of interest in long bleached hair.
'It's our job to identify trends before they materialise and over the last two years, in terms of copycat hairstyles for guys, it's been all about Lee Trundle and Gavin Henson,' he said.
'That's not going to be the case this season though. The trend is very much about having it bleached and long at the back.
'We've already had customers in asking for a 'Marshall', before Justin even picked up a ball for the Ospreys and we are anticipating a surge in demand once the competitive season gets underway this week.'
Interest in Marshall has certainly been high with thousands turning out just to watch a friendly match at the local Liberty Stadium on Friday night.
And Mr Jermin, who has tackled styles for the likes of Henson, former EastEnder Charlie Brooks and Eurovision hopeful Jessica Garlick, said Marshall's arrival cemented the reputation of rugby players as Welsh style icons.
According to him, the city's most popular cut of 2004 belonged to Swansea City striker Lee Trundle as he enjoyed a phenomenal season for the team.
But that was eclipsed by Henson's talismanic spiky hairdo, as sported during last year's Grand Slam-winning Six Nations campaign.
Boys asking for celebrity hairstyles is the latest male take on the phenomenon that once saw women across the world asking for 'the Rachel' - the layered long hair sported by Jennifer Aniston's character in Friends - when they visited hair salons during the 1990s.
What has changed is that where once boys went in clutching magazine shots of David Beckham or Justin Timberlake, they are now just as likely to be pictures of their rugby heroes torn out of the pages of the Western Mail.
Among the pick of the current crop of Wales stars are Shane Williams's quiffs and dye jobs of recent seasons, Henson's alternate spiked or gelled locks, Alix Popham and Ryan Jones's 'surfer dude' looks and the unforgettable curly mops sported by the so-called 'hair bear bunch' - front-row forwards Duncan and Adam Jones.
But Ospreys bosses say the buzz surrounding the signing of scrum-half Marshall - seen as one of world rugby's biggest names - has spread throughout Swansea. They think his popularity could be propelled into a different league with both Welsh men and women in the run-up to this weekend's Magners League opener against Edinburgh Gunners.
Mike Cuddy, Ospreys managing director, said, 'He is an inspirational figure who people look up to and is sure to be a huge hit with supporters young and old, male and female, for very different reasons.
'Some will be impressed by his playing ability, some will see the professional way he handles himself on and off the field and in particular when meeting supporters, whilst let's not kid ourselves, he's already proving a hit with the women of south-west Wales.'
However, there could be one sticking point with his hairstyle after it was referred to in Ospreys press releases as a 'mullet'. …