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Snowsill joins illustrious band of Barbarians fly halves


ELINOR Snowsill will join an illustrious line of Wales fly halves when she makes her Barbarians debut against the USA in Denver.

The 29 year-old follows in the footsteps of legends like Phil Bennett and Barry John, and is one of three Cardiff-based Wales internationals involved in the Baa-baas women’s team.

She is joined by Worcester duo of wing Jasmine Joyce and flanker Alisha Butchers as the women’s team launched in 2017 faces international opposition for the first time. 

It’s deserved recognition for Snowsill, who received the Barbarians call up after winning her 50th cap for Wales in this year’s Six Nations. 

Now she has to team up with some long-term international rivals for the unique invitation side — including one who’s dished out some physical punishment in the past.

Snowsill said: "I was really surprised to get the call — It’s something as a player that you don’t dare to dream about because the chance is so slim. You don’t want to build your hopes up but I was really buzzing when I found out. 

Elinor Snowsill

Snowsill (left) in transit with England's Rocky Clark and Heather Kerr

"You’ve got really high-quality players from all around the world who are all there to enjoy it. Sometimes when you play international rugby, the enjoyment isn’t there because there’s so much pressure on results and performance. 

"You get used to that but here there’s such a huge emphasis on enjoyment and playing creative rugby and that’s right up my street, it’s the thing I love.

"Any Barbarians game, you know there’s going to be something exciting, something different. I remember one penalty move they turned round and kicked it over the head backwards, I love that kind of thing. There is that big history and it’s really nice women are involved now and all that’s passed down to us now. It’s something that’s unique.

"International teams are often so focused on defence and trying to bully the other team out of the game, or playing conservatively because they don’t want to make a mistake. The Barbarians go out and express themselves and it might be from your own five-metre line. I’ll have to bring out that Phil Bennett sidestep if its needed.”

She’ll also have experienced teammates like England’s Rochelle Clark on her side — a relief after one bruising encounter with the veteran prop.

"I’ve played against Rocky many a time. I don’t go near a ruck if she’s anywhere near it. She broke me in half once!

"I don’t usually jackal for the ball, as a fly half I normally stay out, but there was half a sniff and I thought I’ll have a go for it. Rocky came out of nowhere and literally folded me in half and blew me five metres out the other way. 

"She’s quite a big character in every way with all her experience and she’ll be great to have around the camp this week.”

There’s a strong New Zealand influence in the group with four World Cup winners in the squad and another one in head coach Anna Richards — widely regarded as one of the all-time greats of the game.

"I went to the 2010 World Cup as a very junior player,” said Snowsill.

"I was 19 and only had two caps, and I didn’t play against New Zealand who were in our group. But I do remember watching her play, beating England, in something like her fifth World Cup, and I thought it’s someone I’d love to speak to and learn from. I never thought it would happen but now I get the chance to do that. As another fly half, that’s really special.”