Barbarians players, coaches and one of their greatest rivals have been drafted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame at the latest induction ceremony.

Australia’s World Cup winner Stephen Larkham and France’s inspirational full back and coach Pierre Villepreux were rewarded for their outstanding contributions to the game.

They were joined by Wales great Liza Burgess, part of the coaching team that brought the women’s Barbarians team into being in 2017-18.

Pierre Villepreux

Pierre Villepreux and Ronan O’Gara (left) signing autographs

Also inducted at the ceremony in Rugby were Ronan O’Gara and Bryan Williams — the New Zealand wing who played a key role in the historic Cardiff contest between the Barbarians and the All Blacks in 1973.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “The World Rugby Hall of Fame importantly acknowledges and celebrates the true legends of the game, celebrating those who have made outstanding contributions throughout their careers while embodying rugby’s values. 

“On behalf of the rugby family we would like to congratulate this year’s five new inductees, Stephen Larkham, Ronan O’Gara, Pierre Villepreux, Byran Williams and Liza Burgess as they are recognised and honoured for their immense contributions to rugby.

Liza Burgess (left) and Giselle Mather

Barbarians women’s coaches Liza Burgess and Giselle Mather

“Each have left their mark on the sport and through their achievements and character and inspired millions to play and support rugby worldwide.”

Villepreux appeared 34 times for France as a full back and fly half between 1967 and 1972, making three appearances for the Barbarians against Cardiff, Newport and Cambridge University. His influence as a coach is widespread throughout Europe and his France team pulled off one of the World Cup’s greatest shocks when they stunned New Zealand in 1999.

Larkham appeared 102 times for Australia before taking part in the Barbarians 2008 tour and featuring in games against Belgium, Ireland and England.

Bryan Williams (left) and Liza Burgess

Liza Burgess with Bryan Williams at the Hall of Fame

Burgess’s influence on the women’s game in Wales and England has been profound. She won 93 caps in a 20-year international career that has been followed by coaching Wales, Wales U20 and Tyrrell’s Premier 15s side Gloucester-Hartpury. 

She joined Wasps’ Giselle Mather in getting the Barbarians’ women’s side off to a perfect start with wins over Munster and the British Army last season. 

New Zealand great Williams never played for the club — sons Paul and Gavin both have done — but will be applauded for his role in the 1973 contest between the teams. 

The wing’s kick was drilled deep into the Barbarians’ 22 in Cardiff only for Phil Bennett to regather and start the classic attack that was finished by Gareth Edwards’s legendary try.