Barbarian FC

Barbarian FC

Nickname(s) Baa-Baas
Coach(es) New Zealand Steve Hansen (Nov 2013)
Most appearances Ireland Tony O'Reilly (30)
Top scorer Ireland Tony O'Reilly (38 tries)
Team kit
First match
Hartlepool Rovers 4–9 Barbarians
(27 December 1890)
Largest win
 Belgium 10–84 Barbarians
(24 May 2008)
Largest defeat
Barbarians 8–59 British and Irish Lions
(1 June 2013)
Official website

The Barbarian Football Club, usually referred to as the Barbarians and nicknamed the "Baa-Baas", is an invitational rugby union team based in Britain. The Barbarians play in traditional black and white hoops, though players retain the socks from their "home" club strip.

Membership is by invitation and the only qualifications considered when issuing an invitation are that the player's rugby is of a high enough standard and secondly that he should behave himself on and off the field. Being asked to become a Barbarian is an honour and not one restricted to British or Irish players. Consequently, players from 27 other countries have worn Barbarian colours.[2] Traditionally at least one uncapped player is selected for each match.

The Barbarians traditionally played six annual encounters, Penarth, Cardiff, Swansea and Newport during their Easter Tour; a Boxing Day game with Leicester and the Mobbs Memorial Match against East Midlands in the spring. In 1948, the Barbarians were invited to face Australia as part of that team's tour of Britain, Ireland and France. Although initially designed as a fund raiser towards the end of the tour, the encounter became a popular fixture for most touring nations to Britain, and a Barbarian tradition.

On 29 May 2011, during halftime of the Barbarians' match against England at Twickenham, the Barbarians and their founder William Percy Carpmael were honoured for their unique contributions to the sport with induction to the IRB Hall of Fame.[3]

The Barbarian Football Club should not be confused with the Barbarian Rugby Club, also known as the French Barbarians, one of many invitational clubs based on Barbarian F.C. around the world.


The Barbarian Club was formed by William Percy Carpmael, who had played rugby for Cambridge University,[4] and had been part of the Cambridge team which had undertaken a tour of Yorkshire in 1884.[5] Inspired by the culture behind short rugby tours he organised his first tour in 1889 with Clapham Rovers,[5] which was followed by an 1890 tour with an invitational team calling themselves the Southern Nomads.[6] At the time practically every club ceased playing in early March and there were no tours and players just 'packed up' until the following season. In 1890 he took the Southern Nomads – mainly composed of players from Blackheath – on a tour of some northern counties of England.

His idea – collecting a touring side from all sources to tackle a few leading clubs in the land – received strong support from leading players, particularly ex-university players. On 9 April 1890, in Leuchters Restaurant and later at the Alexandra hotel in Bradford, the concept of the Barbarians was agreed upon.[7] The team toured later that year and beat Hartlepool Rovers 9–4 on 27 December in their first fixture.

The team was given the motto by Walter Julius Carey, former Bishop of Bloemfontein and a former member of the Barbarians:[8]

Rugby Football is a game for gentlemen in all classes, but for no bad sportsman in any class.

Penarth, Barbarians HQ

The concept took hold over the years and the nearest thing to a club home came to be the Esplanade Hotel at Penarth in South Wales, where the Barbarians always stayed on their Easter tours of Wales.[9] The annual Good Friday game against the Barbarians was the highlight of the Penarth club's year and was always attended by enthusiastic capacity crowds. This fixture marked the start of the "Baa-Baas'" annual South Wales tour from their "spiritual home" of Penarth, which also encompassed playing Cardiff RFC on the Saturday, Swansea RFC on Easter Monday and Newport RFC on the Tuesday.

The non-match day of Easter Sunday would always see the Barbarians playing golf at the Glamorganshire Golf Club,[10] in Penarth, while the former Esplanade Hotel, which was located on the seafront at Penarth, would host the gala party for the trip, sponsored by the Penarth RFC club. The first match took place in 1901,[9] and over the next 75 encounters, Penarth won eleven games, drew four and lost 60. Between 1920 and the first Athletics Field game in 1925, the Good Friday games were hosted on Penarth County Grammar School's sports field.

The final Penarth v Barbarians game was played in 1986, by which time the Penarth club had slipped from its former prominent position in Welsh rugby. However, a special commemorative game, recognising the 100 years since the first Good Friday match, took place in 2001 and was played at the Athletic Field next to the Penarth clubhouse the day before the Barbarians played Wales at the Millennium Stadium. Gary Teichmann, captain of both the South African International squad and the Barbarians, unveiled a plaque at the clubhouse to mark the event.

The Final Challenge

After the Second World War, in 1948, the Barbarians were asked by the British and Irish Unions to raise a side to play the touring Australian side. This started the tradition of the "Final Challenge" – played as the last match in a tour of Britain and Ireland by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

That game, that try

The Barbarian Final Challenge match with the All Blacks at Cardiff Arms Park on 27 January 1973 is celebrated as one of the best games of rugby union ever played. It was a game of attack and counterattack.

Cliff Morgan described that try by Gareth Edwards:

Kirkpatrick to Williams. This is great stuff! Phil Bennett covering chased by Alistair Scown. Brilliant, oh, that's brilliant! John Williams, Bryan Williams. Pullin. John Dawes, great dummy. To David, Tom David, the half-way line! Brilliant by Quinnell! This is Gareth Edwards! A dramatic start! What a score!!.....Oh that fellow Edwards....If the greatest writer of the written word would've written that story no-one would have believed it. That really was something.[11]

Gareth Edwards said of the match:

The Barbarians won the match 23–11, handing the All Blacks their fourth defeat of the tour.


Barbarians: Tries: G.O. Edwards, J.F. Slattery, J.C. Bevan, J.P.R. Williams; Conversions: P. Bennett (2); Penalty: P. Bennett
All Blacks: Tries: G.B. Batty (2); Penalty: J.F. Karam

Past presidents

The office was first instituted in 1913:

  • W.P. Carpmael, held office from 1913–1936; (the founder of the Barbarians)
  • Emile de Lissa, held office from 1936–1955; associated as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-President and President from 1901–1955
  • Jack "Haigho" Smith, held office in 1955, (term lasted for only a few weeks before his death, having previously given devoted service as Honorary Secretary for more than 30 years)
  • Brigadier Glyn Hughes, held office from 1955–1973;
  • Herbert Waddell, held office from 1973–1988;
  • Micky Steele-Bodger, held office since 1988.

Traditional matches

The nature of the Barbarians as a touring side made for a diverse fixture list, but at a number of points in the club's history they have settled for a time into a regular pattern. Some of these regular matches have fallen by the wayside, whilst others continue to the present day:

  • Boxing Day fixture against Leicester Tigers – this began in 1909 as the third and final match of the Christmas Tour. No longer played.
  • The Edgar Mobbs Memorial Match – held for Edgar Mobbs, who was killed in The First World War. Played at Franklins Gardens against Northampton Saints, Bedford Blues or The East Midlands select XV. The first took place on 10 February 1921, and in later years became a tradition on the first Thursday in March. The last Mobbs Match to feature the Barbarians took place in April 2011. The fixture will continue, but the invited opposition in the future will be a British Army side instead of the Barbarians.[12]
  • Easter Tour – traditionally four matches against Penarth RFC (Good Friday), Cardiff RFC/Cardiff Blues (Easter Saturday); Swansea RFC (Easter Monday) and Newport RFC (Tuesday following Easter Monday). The Penarth match was dropped after the 1986 match as a regular fixture although in 2001 a special commemorative game, recognising the 100 years since the first Good Friday match, took place in 2001 and was played at the Athletic Field next to the Penarth clubhouse the day before the Barbarians played Wales at the Millennium Stadium.
  • The Final Challenge — played as the last match in a tour of the UK by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Because of the changes in the game in recent years, long tours have effectively disappeared from the game and there is less scope for this challenge. The fixture returned on 3 December 2008 when the Barbarians played Australia at Wembley Stadium, the first rugby union match to be played there since its redevelopment.
  • Remembrance Day game against the Combined Services, played in early November.

They typically compete against teams from the home nations (England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland) as well as other international sides.

1908 Olympic rugby union centenary celebration match

Australia was approached by the British Olympic Association to play the Barbarians at Wembley Stadium on 3 December 2008. The match formed part of the BOA's programme of events to celebrate the centenary of the first London Olympic Games where Australia defeated a Great Britain (Cornwall) side in the final 32 – 3.[13] In 1908 France were the defending Olympic champions, but when they withdrew from the event, leaving just Australia and Great Britain to contest the gold medal, it was then County champions Cornwall who took to the field to represent the host nation. Cornwall had already been defeated in Australia's earlier 31-match tour. Cornwall's 1908 contribution was also further recognised by the presentation of the Cornwall Cup to the winning captain at Wembley, with the players of the respective sides receiving gold or silver commemorative medals. The game was the first rugby union fixture to take place in the new Wembley Stadium, the old stadium having been last used for Wales' last gasp 32–31 victory over England in the then Five Nations in 1999.[14] Australia went on to win 18 points to 11.

In a change to the tradition of the Barbarians players wearing their own club socks, in this game, they all wore Cornwall's black and gold socks. The break with the tradition was highly regarded by the secretary of the Cornwall Rugby Football Union, Alan Mitchell, who was said to have been humbled by the honour.[14]

Matches against international sides

Opposing Teams For Against Result Date Venue City Competition
 Wales 26 10 Won 17 April 1915 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Tour Match
To raise 'patriotic funds'
 Australia 9 6 Won 31 January 1948 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 South Africa 3 17 Lost 26 January 1952 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 New Zealand 5 19 Lost 20 February 1954 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 Australia 11 6 Won 22 February 1958 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 East Africa 52 12 Won 28 May 1958 RFUEA Ground Nairobi Tour Match
 South Africa 6 0 Won 4 February 1961 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 Canada 3 3 Draw 17 November 1962 Gosforth Tour Match
 New Zealand 3 36 Lost 15 February 1964 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 Australia 11 17 Lost 28 January 1967 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 New Zealand 6 11 Lost 16 December 1967 Twickenham London Final Challenge
 Rhodesia 24 21 Won 26 May 1969 Police grounds Salisbury Tour Match
 South Africa 12 21 Lost 31 January 1970 Twickenham London Tour Match
 Scotland 17 33 Lost 9 May 1970 Murrayfield Edinburgh Tour Match
In aid of 1970 British Commonwealth Games
 Fiji 9 29 Lost 24 October 1970 Gosforth Final Challenge
 New Zealand 23 11 Won 27 January 1973 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 New Zealand 13 13 Draw 30 November 1974 Twickenham London Final Challenge
 Australia 19 7 Won 24 January 1976 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 Canada 29 4 Won 12 June 1976 Toronto Tour Match
British and Irish Lions 14 23 Lost 10 September 1977 Twickenham London Silver Jubilee Match
 New Zealand 16 18 Lost 16 December 1978 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 Scotland 26 13 Won 1983 Murrayfield Edinburgh Tour Match
 Australia 30 37 Lost 15 December 1984 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 Italy 23 15 Won 26 May 1985 Tour Match
 Australia 22 40 Lost 26 November 1988 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 New Zealand 10 21 Lost 25 November 1989 Twickenham London Final Challenge
 England 16 18 Lost 29 September 1990 Twickenham Tour Match
Centenary celebrations
 Wales 31 24 Won 6 October 1990 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Tour Match
Centenary celebrations
 Argentina 34 22 Won 17 November 1990 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 Scotland 16 16 Draw 7 September 1991 Murrayfield Edinburgh Tour Match
 Russia 23 27 Lost 6 June 1992 Lokomotiv Moscow Tour Match
 Australia 20 30 Lost 28 November 1992 Twickenham London Final Challenge
 New Zealand 12 25 Lost 4 December 1993 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Final Challenge
 Zimbabwe 21 23 Lost 4 June 1994 Tour Match
 South Africa 23 15 Won 3 December 1994 Lansdowne Road Dublin Final Challenge
 Ireland 70 38 Won 1996 Lansdowne Road Dublin Tour Match
Peace International
 Scotland 45 48 Lost 17 August 1996 Murrayfield Edinburgh Tour Match
Dunblane Disaster Fund Match
 Wales 10 31 Lost 24 August 1996 Cardiff Arms Park Cardiff Tour Match
Fully capped match for Wales
 Australia 12 39 Lost 7 December 1996 Twickenham London Final Challenge
 Ireland 31 30 Won May 2000 Lansdowne Road Dublin Tour Match
 Scotland 45 42 Won 31 May 2000 Murrayfield Edinburgh Tour Match
 Germany 47 19 Won 12 August 2000 Eilenriedestadion Hanover Tour Match
German Rugby Federation Centenary Match
 South Africa 31 41 Lost 10 December 2000 Millennium Stadium Cardiff Final Challenge
 Wales 40 38 Won 20 May 2001 Millennium Stadium Cardiff Tour Match
 Scotland 74 31 Won 24 May 2001 Murrayfield Edinburgh Tour Match
 England 43 29 Won 27 May 2001 Twickenham Tour Match
 Australia 35 49 Lost 28 November 2001 Millennium Stadium Cardiff Final Challenge
 England 29 53 Lost May 2002 Twickenham Tour Match
 Wales 40 25 Won May 2002 Millennium Stadium Cardiff Tour Match
 Scotland 47 27 Won June 2002 Murrayfield Edinburgh Tour Match
 England 49 36 Won May 2003 Twickenham Tour Match
 Scotland 24 15 Won May 2003 Murrayfield Edinburgh Tour Match
 Wales 48 35 Won May 2003 Millennium Stadium Cardiff Tour Match
 Scotland 40 33 Won 22 May 2004 Murrayfield Edinburgh Tour Match
 Wales 0 42 Lost 27 May 2004 Ashton Gate Bristol Tour Match
 England 32 12 Won 30 May 2004 Twickenham Tour Match
 Portugal 66 34 Won 10 June 2004 Universitário Lisboa Lisbon Tour Match
 New Zealand 19 47 Lost 4 December 2004 Twickenham London Final Challenge
 Scotland 9 38 Lost 24 May 2005 Pittodrie Aberdeen Tour Match
 England 52 39 Won 28 May 2005 Twickenham Tour Match
 England 19 46 Lost 28 May 2006 Twickenham Tour Match
 Scotland 19 66 Lost 31 May 2006 Murrayfield Edinburgh Tour Match
 Georgia 28 19 Won 4 June 2006 Mikheil Meskhi Stadium Tbilisi Tour Match
 Tunisia 33 10 Won 19 May 2007 Stade El Menzah Tunis Tour Match
 Spain 52 26 Won 23 June 2007 Martínez Valero Elche Tour Match
 South Africa 22 5 Won 1 December 2007 Twickenham London Final Challenge
 Belgium 84 10 Won 24 May 2008 Stade Roi Baudouin Brussels Tour Match
 Ireland 14 39 Lost 27 May 2008 Kingsholm Gloucester Tour Match
 England 14 17 Lost 1 June 2008 Twickenham London Tour Match
 Australia 11 18 Lost 3 December 2008 Wembley Stadium London Final Challenge / Cornwall Cup
 England 35 26 Lost 3 May 2009 Twickenham London Tour Match [15]
 Australia 7 55 Lost 6 June 2009 Sydney Football Stadium Sydney Tour Match [16]
 New Zealand 25 18 Won 5 December 2009 Twickenham London Final Challenge
 England 26 35 Lost 30 May 2010 Twickenham London Tour Match
 Ireland 29 23 Won 4 June 2010 Thomond Park Limerick Tour Match
 South Africa 26 20 Won 4 December 2010 Twickenham London Final Challenge
 England 38 32 Won 29 May 2011 Twickenham London Tour Match
 Wales 31 28 Won 4 June 2011 Millennium Stadium Cardiff Tour Match
Celebration of 130th anniversary of the WRU; fully capped match for Wales
 Australia 11 60 Lost 26 November 2011 Twickenham London Final Challenge
 England 26 57 Lost 27 May 2012 Twickenham London Tour Match
 Ireland 29 28 Won 29 May 2012 Kingsholm Stadium Gloucester Tour Match
 Wales 21 30 Lost 2 June 2012 Millennium Stadium Cardiff Tour Match
Fully capped match for Wales
 England 12 40 Lost 26 May 2013 Twickenham London Tour Match
British and Irish Lions 8 59 Lost 1 June 2013 Hong Kong Stadium Hong Kong Lions Tour Match [17]
 Fiji 30 November 2013 Twickenham London Tour Match


Against Played Won Lost Drawn Win %
 Argentina 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 Australia 12 3 9 0 25.00%
 Belgium 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 Canada 2 1 0 1 50.00%
 East Africa 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 England 13 6 7 0 46.15%
 Fiji 1 0 1 0 0.00%
 Georgia 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 Germany 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 Ireland 5 4 1 0 80.00%
 Italy 1 1 0 0 100.00%
British and Irish Lions 2 0 2 0 0.00%
 New Zealand 10 2 7 1 20.00%
 Portugal 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 Rhodesia 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 Russia 1 0 1 0 0.00%
 Scotland 11 6 4 1 54.55%
 South Africa 7 4 3 0 57.14%
 Spain 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 Tunisia 1 1 0 0 100.00%
 Wales 9 6 3 0 66.67%
 Zimbabwe 1 0 1 0 0.00%
Total 83 42 38 3 50.60%

Squad for November test v Fiji

Barbarians squad (as of 18 September) for the test against Fiji during the 2013 end-of-year rugby union tests

Note: Bold denotes players that have represented the Barbarians in previous tours.

Previous squads

Notable players

The 16 players chosen by the Barbarians official website as the outstanding players to represent the club.[19]


Original members of the Barbarians, 1890–1891

  • England England international, Scotland Scotland international, Wales Wales international, United Kingdom British Isles international
  • Oxon. – Oxford University player, Cantab. – Cambridge University player

See also



External links

  • Official site
  • Barbarians history from the BBC
  • Barbarians history from
  • Barbarians International Matches
  • Barbarians rugby union news from Planet Rugby