History of the Barbarians

Many years ago, a group of players were chosen to form an elite team. They had no ground, clubhouse or subscription and membership was by invitation only. In essence, they represented a glorious concept brought to life by the vision and enthusiam of one man, William Percy Carpmael. Inspired by his personal playing experiences with both Blackheath and Cambridge University, his dream was to spread good fellowship amongst all rugby football players.The dream became reality on December 27th 1890 at Friary Field, Hartlepool. There, all things great about the game - flair, courage, spirit and passion - were encapsulated in one great team. A team they called the Barbarians.

Worlds apart

Outstanding talents have followed in their footsteps ever since. Not least the well remembered Edgar Mobbs. Sadly killed in The Great War, he showed the leadership and spirit required to wear the famous black and white hoops. In his honour, 'The Mobbs Memorial Match' was an annual fixture from 1921 until 2011.

Winning the world over

As a result of many scintillating performances, the Barbarians won respect worldwide and on 31 January 1948 they were invited to play the Australians at Cardiff Arms Park in the final match of the tour. The battle captured the imagination of millions and drew a capacity crowd of 45,000. So successful was the fixture that it became tradition for Australia, New Zealand or South Africa - whichever was touring the UK - to tackle the Barbarians in 'The Final Challenge.' This exciting event took place every three years until,in the professional era after 1995, games occurred more frequently.

The Modern Game

As the 21st century dawned the Barbarians played South Africa in 2000 and Australia the following year at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Then, in a magical three Decembers between 2007 and 2009, the Barbarians beat South Africa and New Zealand at Twickenham and hosted the first rugby union match at the rebuilt Wembley Stadium, playing Australia in a gala occasion that also celebrated the centenary of the 1908 Olympic Games in London.