Why Do Rugby Players Shave Their Legs?

If you have tuned into any rugby games recently you will have noticed that there is a lack of leg hair among certain players. For such big brutes, many sporting beards you would expect to see a bit more leg hair. Why exactly is there a lack of leg hair among rugby players? Is it for athletic reasons or is purely for vanity? Read on to find out!

Rugby players shave their legs to allow their legs and ankles to be strapped. The strapping is made of sticky material which whether players like it or not gives them a free wax. Players also remove their leg hair as it makes it more comfortable to receive sports massages.

Rugby players will often wear strapping on their knees, ankles and thighs. The sports tape they use to support their body parts is held in place by a very sticky substance. This is to ensure the strapping stays secure for the whole match. After the game when players take the strapping off the strapping acts as a waxing strip and takes the players’ hair with it. Many players to avoid having an impromptu wax session every time they remove their strapping choose to remove their leg hair permanently.

If you have ever had a deep tissue sports massage you will know how rough and aggressive they can be. Due to their intensity it is easy for sports massages to irritate the hair follicles which are being constantly pulled during the massage. Your leg hair can be seriously sore for a number of days following the massage. As rugby players are receiving intensive massages multiple times a week it is no wonder that many players don’t want to suffer from pulled leg hair and instead opt to remove it.

There is also a vanity element to why many rugby players choose to forgo leg hair. To accentuate their muscles and give their bodies a sleek look players will remove their leg hair. The lack of leg hair can really make the leg muscles particularly the quads pop out and look more muscular than they really are. Rugby matches are broadcast around the world and are often seen by millions of people. You can forgive rugby players for wanting to look good infront of so many people.

Rugby players who happen to have good bodies also often appear in magazine shoots and advertising campaigns shirtless. Directors will often request rugby players shave as they believe it looks better for advertising campaigns. That is one reason why your favourite prop forward is more likely to have body hair than your typical outside back.

Gavin Henson, the Welsh great is often credited with popularising leg shaving among rugby players. Henson in the early 2000s set himself up as a bit of showpony who liked to look good for the camera. Henson claims he first shaved his legs following a broken leg as he was disgusted by the sight of his shrunken and hairy leg. He said he just continued the trend after that. Henson claims he even converted many of his teammates into serial leg shavers. 

Henson took rugby vanity to a new level by regularly receiving fake tans and even dyed his hair red. Fake tans too became extremely popular among Welsh rugby players, so much so that some clubs even banned them.

Do Rugby Players Shave Their Arms?

Yes, many rugby players shave their arms. This is to reduce irritation to hair follicles following intensive sports massages, reduce having their hair pulled out by sticky strapping tape and to show off their muscles.

If you thought rugby players only shaved their legs you are wrong. It is now very common for rugby players to remove arm hair too. Rugby players cite the same reasons they opt to remove arm hair as to why they remove their leg hair. I bet a number of players are more motivated by pure vanity reasons then they like to let on. I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of players who never wear strapping or don’t have any issues with massages still decide to remove their arm hair because they think it makes their biceps look more ripped.

How Do Rugby Players Remove Leg Hair And Hair?

Most rugby players simply opt to shave their leg and arm hair using a razor and shaving cream. Very few players wax. However, with the increased popularity of laser treatments many rugby players are opting for this method as it is permanent.

Laser treatments have become popular with English rugby players reportedly quite fond of the hair removal method. English players Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson have both taken advantage in the advancements of hair removal technology. 

Is It Better For Rugby Players To Shave Or Laser Their Leg Hair?

It is recommended that rugby players laser their leg hair. Lasering is permanent, so you don’t have to worry about shaving every couple of days. Lasering also gives rugby players a smooth appearance and reduces the chances of getting ingrown hairs which are common when shaving.



Cheap – You can get a razor for $1, you combine that with a dollop of shaving cream and a rugby player can remove his body hair for a very affordable price 

Do At Home – You can shave in the comfort of your own home, by shaving footy players don’t have to worry about travelling to some clinic and booking an appointment, just head to your bathroom


Has To Be Done Often – If a footy player wants smooth silky legs he will have to shave every couple of days, this can be become very time consuming and annoying

Won’t Be Close – Shaving is not as effective at removing hair as laser or waxing, you will be left with small hairs and you won’t achieve the smooth effect that many rugby players are looking for

Ingrown Hairs – Shaving can lead to ingrown hairs, these ingrown hairs are painful and can lead to nasty infections such as staph, as rugby players are at risk of staph due to the contact nature of their sport they should avoid shaving their body



Permanent – Laser is permanent solution to removing your body hair as it eventually kills the hair follicles, you start by having frequent consultations but these eventually turn into very infrequent as the hair follicle dies

Lack Of Ingrown Hairs – Nobody wants nasty and painful ingrown hairs all over their legs, especially if you are a footy player who is at risk of staph, it is unlikely you will ingrown hairs from laser unlike shaving


Price – Laser can be very expensive, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars to finally kill your hair follicles

Need A Professional – You need to visit a clinic and book a consultation with a professional if you want laser performed, this can be annoying and time consuming

Why Do Football Players Shave Their Legs?

Many footballers shave their legs to reduce pain when receiving intensive massages and to reduce hair pulled out when strapping is removed. Football players also like to look good and think the lack of hair makes their leg muscle look more defined.

There is a functional component to why soccer players remove their leg hair. During a sports massage their hair gets rubbed, pulled and twisted. This causes considerable pain and discomfort. To avoid this pain soccer players will remove their leg hair.

Footballers regularly wear strapping around their knees, ankles and thighs. When they remove the strapping which is attached to their bodies via a sticky substance their hair is violently pulled out just like they were receiving a wax. To avoid this painful situation occurring after every match or training session soccer players will just keep their legs smooth.


The thought of big burly rugby players shaving their legs appears to be a strange juxtaposition. You would think footy players who are routinely smashing their body parts into each other wouldn’t be so concerned with grooming routine. 

However, it makes sense that rugby players would shave their legs when you find out that they are often heavily strapped and the tape they use is very sticky and pulls out their hair every time they take it off. You combine this with the fact that players are regularly having intense massages which result in their hair being twisted and pulled then it is no wonder rugby players decide to shave their legs.

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