'Peaky Blinders' inspires Wallaby White's World Cup whiskers

Urayasu (Japan) (AFP) –


Australia scrum-half Nic White has revealed the inspiration behind one of the most magnificent moustaches ever seen at the Rugby World Cup -- the British crime drama "Peaky Blinders".

Like a privet hedge fanning out into classic 1970s handle-bars, White's splendid whiskers have been turning heads in Japan and on Tuesday, the bristly Wallaby said he was modelling his look on hard-man character Arthur Shelby.

"I started growing it a little while ago," he told reporters near Tokyo Disneyland, where Australia are preparing for Saturday's Pool D game with Uruguay.

"I'm into Peaky Blinders at the moment and Arthur Shelby has got a pretty good one," added White, who started in Australia's 39?21 win over Fiji and came off the bench in last weekend's 29-25 defeat by Wales.

"I happen to think I suit it."

Asked if he had the same qualities as tough nut Shelby, White paused before replying: "Maybe I'm not everything like Arthur Shelby -- maybe just the moustache."

White, who did admit to twirling his glorious creation "on special occasions", offered kind words to hulking winger Marika Koroibete, brooding silently beside him and sporting a bushy beard of his own.

"You've got a great beard as well, mate," he said before returning to the topic of rugby, insisting the Wallabies would give no quarter against an "unpredictable" Uruguay side who stunned Fiji in their opening game.

"It's a do-or-die game for us," added the Exeter player. "They've got some serious passion and it's going to be very physical in terms of what they throw at us."

- 'A bit of restraint' -

White called for Australia to show more patience and better discipline after allowing Fiji and Wales to build early leads.

"It's not a case of us not being ready or not wanting it," he said.

"We've just got to build into the game a little more and show a bit of restraint," added White, who came on for Will Genia against Wales.

"If we can just get the start right and not give teams a leg-up early on, it's all there for us."

Both White and Koroibete side-stepped questions on World Cup referees after Australia coach Michael Cheika's rant following his side's loss to Wales.

Already upset over a three-match ban on winger Reece Hodge, the Wallabies coach accused match officials of being "spooked" by a crackdown on high tackles.

Cheika also reacted furiously to a first-half penalty against winger Samu Kerevi for catching Welsh fly-half Rhys Patchell under the chin while running with the ball.

Kerevi joked about switching codes to rugby league after the game, adding: "Rugby is a tough sport -- I don't want the game to become soft."

But prop Scott Sio denied that the Wallabies felt they were getting a raw deal.

"The referees are going to call what they see and we've got to adapt," he shrugged.

"Every referee has his own style and we've just got to back ourselves and trust the process."