The History Of The Barbarians

The barbarians who come closest to the rugby version of the Harlem Globetrotters and focus on fun and entertainment have been thrilling crowds around the world for 130 years.

The Barbarians

Aside from playing for the British and Irish Lions – if you are from this part of the world – representing your country is the highest honor any professional rugby player can be given.

A close second place is a call to the world-famous barbarians or the Baa-Baas, as they are generally known.

The invitation to put on the famous black and white jersey is a huge pride for players, whether they’re an aspiring hopeless man or a gnarled professional who wants to add a prestigious footnote to their resumes.

The Barbarians
English rugby union footballer Stuart Barnes, the stand-off for the Barbarians, sets up an attack during a match against Australia at Twickenham, 28th November 1992. Australia won 20-30. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The ability to coach and assemble a team of superstars from around the world is also valued. “I started thinking about who might be involved. It’s a bit like fantasy rugby,” former Samoa international Pat Lam admitted before his squad selection in 2018.

The list of barbarians, in which players from different clubs, countries and cultures come together, is just as varied. The games range from games against the best international teams in the world to annual memorial games and traditional social gatherings.

Just over 62,000 spectators watched their last international appearance in November 2019 (a women’s team was introduced in 2017) – a 43:33 loss to Wales – and there is hope that they will be back on the road with a more free flight to rugby soon Long.

Who Founded The Barbarians?

William Percy Carpmael, a man of vision and an exceptional organizer who was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame, was the founding father of Barbarian FC.

Carpmael was a burly striker at both Blackheath and Cambridge University and wanted the values ​​of community and camaraderie to be spread as widely as possible in the young rugby world.

Carpmael enjoyed the company of a group of friends on a tour of the north of England in 1890 and came up with the idea of ​​founding an invitation-only rugby club that is committed to playing offensive rugby.

Carpmael played in 20 of the first 23 barbarian games from 1890 to 1993 and continued to be the driving force of the club until his death in 1936.

When and where was the club founded?

While Huddersfield was the birthplace of the Rugby League, the barbarians were founded on April 8, 1890, in West Yorkshire, 25 km away in Bradford, five years before rugby was split into two codes. The idea is said to have come to light during a late evening dinner in the Leuchters Restaurant, a popular restaurant run by a Prussian immigrant.

Whom do you play?

The first barbarian games were played exclusively in the north of England – against Hartlepool Rovers, Bradford, Bingley, and Swinton – during the club’s first tour in December 1890. Since then, however, games have been played in almost every corner of the British Isles and much further away. At the last count, the nomadic barbarians played in 25 countries and helped spread the rugby gospel in places as diverse as Tunisia and Georgia.

Easter tours were all trips to Wales, while the boxing day match against Leicester Tigers was another solid event until professional rugby emerged. The club’s longest uninterrupted game – the Mobbs Memorial Match, played against an East Midlands XV since 1921 to celebrate war hero Edgar Mobbs – also fell victim to modernity in 2011.

The Barbarians’ first game against a large international touring team took place in 1948 when they played 9: 6 against Australia in Cardiff Arms Park. Mickey Steele-Bodger, who became the club’s longest and most influential president, scored one of three attempts by the Baa-Baas in front of 45,000 spectators. Games against the world’s leading international teams are the order of the day, especially in the northern hemisphere.

What kit do they play in?

The barbarians are unique in that all players go onto the field with their own racket socks. However, the club broke with tradition once when it faced Australia at Wembley in 2008 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first London Olympics, when Australia defeated Britain 32-3 with Great Britain. For the game, the Baa-Baas wore the black and gold socks of the Duchy of Cornwall.

Originally the barbarian jersey was white with a skull symbol over the letter B.F.C. The current black and white tire design were adopted a year after the club was founded in 1891.


Probably the greatest barbarian match ever in terms of persistent sweeping movements was also the best attempt ever made.

No rugby fan will be tired of seeing Phil Bennett collect the ball deep in his own 22, hex past several potential defenders, and then launch a counterattack that goes through multiple hands before Gareth Edwards jumps into the corner.

Cliff Morgan’s comment on this step is almost as famous as the attempt itself. In his autobiography, The Voice of Rugby, Bill McLaren of the BBC, wished he had been there to name it himself.

“It was the most famous game, which I regrettably did not comment on,” wrote the Scot.

“Cliff Morgan was the commentator that day. He had accompanied the 1971 Lions tour to New Zealand, from which most of the All Blacks team had been drawn, and was ideally equipped for the Cardiff game.

“Cliff did a great job too. But I have to admit when I saw the game on TV I fervently wished I was involved. It was a real sizzler.

How did the women’s team fare?

In November 2017, the barbarians won the Invitational Club’s first women’s game when they defeated Munster at Thomond Park in Limerick with 19-0. They followed this success with another win the following March, 37-0 against the British Army.

The barbarian women then maintained their 100 percent record with an exciting 34:33 win against the USA Women’s Eagles in April 2019, but England ended this run two months later when they won 40:14 in the first leg of a historic double with Herren International in Twickenham.

Updated: July 9, 2020 — 12:52 am

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