Introducing… The Barbarians RFU Great history read ….

Qantas Wallabies versus Barbarians

Qantas Wallabies Spring Tour 2011, Match 1 – Saturday 26 November, 2011

Australia versus Barbarians, Twickenham Stadium, London, 2.35pm

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

Introducing… The Barbarians RFU

Who are they: The (British) Barbarians Rugby Football Club is an invitation club that has been producing teams that play with spirit and adventure for 120 years. While the club has no official home ground, teams bearing its name and traditional black & white hooped strip have appeared at all of the major grounds in Great Britain. Players are selected to appear for the Baabaas on an invitation basis and are awarded life membership to the club on the date of their first appearance.

The Founding of the Barbarians: The idea for the club came one evening in 1890 at Leuchters Restaurant in Bradford in the north of England, and was the brain child of WP Carpmael. As the British season at that stage closed in March, his idea was to form an invitation team “from all sources” that would then play a number of leading clubs in the land. The formation of the team would allow players the opportunity to play alongside others who they would usually only see as opponents. So the Barbarians were born, and the concept has largely remained the same ever since.

Barbarians Traditions: Even though the rugby landscape has changed dramatically in the last 16 years, since the advent of open professionalism, the Baabaas have endeavoured to maintain a number of traditions. One is that the players almost always wear the socks of their own clubs in matches. Another is the tradition of fielding at least one player in major matches who has yet to be capped by an international side. Both the Barbarians and the Qantas Wallabies observed this tradition at Wembley in 2008, with the Baabaas fielding the uncapped Western Province (South Africa) flanker Nick Koster, while Brumbies lock Peter Kimlin made his maiden appearance for the Wallabies off the bench.

What’s in a name: There are various theories as to how the Barbarians got their name ranging from some classical authority who deemed it appropriate to give the club a name “dignified by the famous victory of Arminius over Varius and his legions in Germany some two thousand years ago” to that put forward by former club president Emile de Lissa, who thought it more likely the “Barbarian was chosen in defiance of those who would style all rugby players as just that”. The club’s first crest featured a skull and crossbones but this quickly gave way to the monogram the jerseys still carry today, of the letters BFC inter-twined.

A world wide phenomenon: Twelve decades on from its formation, the club boasts over 2800 members worldwide. All are judged to have been worthy of upholding the Barbarian motto instituted by the Right Reverend W.J. Carey (former Bishop of Bloemfontein and an original member) which is: “Rugby Football is a game for gentlemen in all classes, but for no bad sportsman in any class”.

The first matches: The Barbarians kicked off in 1890 with matches against the Northern English clubs, Hartlepool Rovers and Bradford. The club’s second tour in 1891 also took in matches in Wales. As well as fixtures against international sides, the Barbarians play a number of traditional club fixtures on an annual basis against the likes of Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and top English club Leicester.

The first international: Australia had the honour of being the Barbarians’ first full international opponent, when a match was arranged to conclude the Wallabies’ 1948 tour of Great Britain, primarily to raise money to help cover the touring party’s expenses for its journey home via Canada. A crowd of 45,000 jammed into Cardiff Arms Park to see the Baabaas defeat the Wallabies 9-6. The most recent match between the Baabaas and Australia, on the team’s historic visit to the Sydney Football Stadium in 2009, was the 11th match to have been played between the teams. Australia has won eight of these, including the last seven in a row.

The Baabaas as an overseas touring entity: The 2009 visit was the Barbarians first appearance in Australia, but the club has toured often enough, having dispatched teams to 25 different countries. These include Canada, South Africa, Russia, Zimbabwe, Spain, Japan, Germany, Portugal, Tunisia, Georgia, Italy and Argentina.

Matches against Test sides: Recent years have seen the Barbarians involved in more and more matches against full international sides. They regularly feature at Twickenham playing England, and usually host matches against the major Southern Hemisphere nations at the stadium as well. The Baabaas on Saturday are seeking a notable hat-trick, having beaten the All Blacks in London in 2009 and South Africa last year.

Where do the players come from: Over 25 countries have been represented by players in the Barbarians through the years. This includes Australia, where names such as David Campese, Michael Lynagh, George Gregan and Matt Giteau have been associated with the famous jersey. Media baron and former Irish and British Isles winger AJ (Tony) O’Reilly holds the record for the most tries in the Barbarians jersey. O’Reilly scored 38 tries for the Baabaas in 30 appearances between 1955 and 1962.

The Australian connection: The appearance of former Wallaby captain Stirling Mortlock at Twickenham with the Barbarians this weekend continues a strong Australian-association with the club. Mortlock, who is Australia’s fourth most capped Test skipper after leading the Wallabies on 28 occasions in Tests, was captain when Australia beat the Barbarians 55-7 at the Sydney Football Stadium two years ago. The Baabaas were led on that evening by the then 77-Test Wallaby Phil Waugh, who went on to play to Tests for Australia later that same season. The tradition of players turning out for the Barbarians against their own countrymen was started by an Australian – Sir Nicholas Shehadie, who achieved the rare honour of playing both for and against the Baabaas. Sir Nicholas opposed the festival club when the Barbarians played Australia at the end of the Wallabies 1947-48 tour of the UK, Ireland and France. This was the first time the Barbarians had been assembled to play against an international touring side. He then featured for the Baabaas a decade later, being invited to wear the now famous black-and-white-hooped jersey against his Wallaby team-mates.

The most famous match: Many would claim that the 1973 match when the Barbarians beat the All Blacks 23-11 at Cardiff Arms Park is the best display of rugby ever seen. Certainly it ranks up there with the ‘match of the century’ – the 39-35 thriller played out between Australia and New Zealand in Sydney 11 years ago. The Barbarians’ match included a try by Gareth Edwards which took play from inside the Barbarians quarter through seven different pairs of hands before the try was finally scored by the Welsh great in the corner at the opposite end of the field. The Baabaas were also the only side to beat the Springboks on their 1961 tour of Great Britain and Ireland, capturing the Springbok head – a trophy traditionally presented by the South African tourists to the first side to beat them when on tour – after a 6-0 win at Cardiff Arms Park. The last two years have seen the Baabaas beat New Zealand 25-18 and South Africa 26-20 on their Spring Tours.

Olympic Gold Medal Recalled: The historic match between the Qantas Wallabies and the Barbarians at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2008 marked the 100th anniversary of Australia winning an Olympic gold medal for rugby union at the 1908 London Games. Australia defeated Cornwall, who represented Great Britain, on that occasion. The Australian side which beat the Barbarians featured 11 players who were in their first year as Wallabies, including the second youngest ever Australian representative; James O’Connor, who handled the goal-kicking at Wembley. In All Black Richard McCaw, Springboks Bryan Habana and Schalk Burger and Welshman Shane Williams; the star-studded Barbarians combination of that night featured four of the last five IRB Players of the Year.

Southern Association: The Baabaas have a strong association with Southern Hemisphere rugby. The team has twice toured South Africa. It has also played New Zealand on 10 occasions (for two wins, alongside a draw and seven losses), and South Africa seven times – for four wins and three defeats. One of the best wins achieved by the Barbarians came against the Springboks in 2007, when they beat the newly crowned Rugby World Cup champions 22-5. That match was the last in charge of South Africa for the new Brumbies coach, Jake White.

The Coaching Connection: All Blacks coaches Graham Henry and Steve Hansen are following in the footsteps of 2007 Rugby World Cup winner Jake White, in taking on the Baabaas to play Australia. White, assisted by ex-Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, prepared the star studded Barbarians outfit that was defeated by the Wallabies at Wembley Stadium in 2008. Henry and Hansen were then on the losing side against the Baabaas a year later, as a Nick Mallett prepared Barbarians team beat the All Blacks. South African Mallett, then the head coach of Italy, also prepared the Barbarians when they beat the Springboks last year.

Beware the H-bomb: He might not have made much of an impact against the Wallabies playing for the Springboks this year, but Australia will still be on guard for some explosions from Bryan Habana this weekend. The flying 28-year-old, who has scored a South African record 40 tries from his 74 Tests (five of which have come from his 15 outings against the Wallabies); scored a hat-trick when he last graced the Baabaas jersey in the 25-18 win over New Zealand in 2009. Habana is being accompanied in London by the recently retired King of the second row Victor Matfield, who played his 110th and final Test during South Africa’s 9-11 loss to Australia in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

Barbarians Results against Southern Hemisphere Teams

1948: Beat Australia, Cardiff 9-6

1952: Lost to South Africa, Cardiff 3-17

1954: Lost to New Zealand, Cardiff 5-19

1958: Beat Australia, Cardiff 11-6

1961: Beat South Africa, Cardiff 6-0

1964: Lost to New Zealand, Cardiff 3-36

1967: Lost to Australia, Cardiff 11-17

1967: Lost to New Zealand, London 6-11

1970: Lost to South Africa, London 12-21

1973: Beat New Zealand, Cardiff 23-11

1974: Drew with New Zealand, London 13-13

1976: Beat Australia, Cardiff 19-7

1978: Lost to New Zealand, London 16-18

1984: Lost to Australia, Cardiff 30-37

1988: Lost to Australia, Cardiff 22-40

1989: Lost to New Zealand, London 10-21

1990: Beat Argentina, Cardiff 34-22

1992: Lost to Australia, London 20-30

1993: Lost to New Zealand, London 12-25

1994: Beat South Africa, Dublin 23-15

1996: Lost to Australia, London 12-39

2000: Lost to South Africa, Cardiff 31-41

2001: Lost to Australia, Cardiff 35-49

2004: Lost to New Zealand, London 19-47

2007: Beat South Africa, London 22-5

2008: Lost to Australia, London 11-18

2009: Lost to Australia, Sydney 7-55

2009: Beat New Zealand, London 25-18

2010: Beat South Africa, London 26-20

About Martin Myers
Music Supervisor / Artist and Talent Manager / Publicist / Music Exchange Founder / Owner Triple M Entertainment

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