In 1948 the Barbarians were asked by the Home Unions to raise a side to play the Australian Wallabies as a fund raising exercise to enable the Wallabies to return home via Canada. The match proved such an outstanding success, both with the excellence of the rugby on the field, and in achieving its aim that the Barbarians have since been privileged with the honour of playing subsequent International Touring sides at the end of their respective tours of Great Britain.
Of these 26 occasions most have been memorable games, but to mention a few: the 1961 defeat of the Springboks by 6-0, the only side to defeat them, with Haydn Mainwaring's magnificent tackling in mind; the 1973 match versus New Zealand, won by 23-11, which surely rates as the greatest performance ever by a Barbarian team; the spectacular rugby seen in two matches against Australia in 1984 and 1988, and the defeat of South Africa at Lansdowne Road in December 1994 by 23-15.
In more recent times the Barbarians beat newly crowned Rugby World Cup champions South Africa at Twickenham in 2007, hosted Australia in an historic London Olympic Centenary match at the new Wembley Stadium in 2008 and, in 2009, beat New Zealand again in an enthralling encounter at Twickenham.
A full list of the matches against the Tri-Nations teams, the home countries, and also other national sides, can be found by clicking on to Roll of Honour.