Two years on from their historic match at Twickenham, Baabaas faced off against a vastly improved South African side. This time on their home soil, refereed by Aimee Barrett-Theron, a former Bok and the most-capped women’s referee of all time. This match saw Aimee’s career coming full circle as her first ever test match was against the Nomads (the precursor to the Women’s Barbarians) back in 2008. Coming together only two days ahead of the game, our eight nation army sealed the win with pace, persistence and an unrelenting speed of play – but the day wasn’t without its drama.


After a booming kick-off, the Barbarians found themselves fighting for survival on their 5 metre line. The pressure saw Ciara O’Connor, currently playing her rugby in New Zealand with Ponsonby Fillies, dealt a yellow card for the cynical collapse of a maul. 3 minutes in, the Barbarians were down to 14. But this didn’t daunt the mercurial side, who chose to tap and go when handed a penalty in their own 5 metre. After an initial break by Grace Steinmetz (New Zealand and Lincoln Uni), the Baabaas went the length, culminating in May Campbell (England and Saracens) powering over the white wash. Elinor Snowsill (now retired after a sterling career with Wales and Bristol Bears) knocked the conversion over the uprights with ease despite the swirling wind. The first try was followed in quick succession by another with Ailsa Hughes (Ireland and Railway Union) finishing off some champagne rugby from the backs. With Snowsill doing the honours once again for the conversion, the Barbarians were 14 points up with barely 10 minutes gone.

The Women’s Boks responded with some powerful phase play. Their sheer physicality showing, the Boks soaked up the defensive pressure from the Barbarians blitz. The women in green and gold gained inch over inch before number 8 Catharina Jacobs peeled off the back of a scrum and powered over the try line. No. 10 Libbie Janse van Rensburg added the extras and the Boks were back in the game.

Power and patience were the watchwords of the Springbok women with their captain Babalwa Latsha leading by example. Coming down from the line out into powerful driving maul the women in green and gold crossed the line once again with Micke Gunter doing the honours at the back. Janse van Rensburg once again slotted the conversion bringing the score to a draw. A few minutes later the Boks were struck a blow as Makua Lerato went down. After a short stoppage Lerato was stretchered off and replaced by Nolusindiso Booi, South Africa’s most capped player.

But the Barbarians couldn’t suffer a draw for long. Lindsay Peat (Ireland and Railway Union) and Beth Stafford (currently unattached) sprayed more champagne with some thrilling offload rugby, putting Maria Magatti (Italy and Benetton rugby) in for a try directly under the uprights. Snowsill made it 3 from 3 with another conversion and a few minutes later the was back in the same spot after Ailsa Hughes (Ireland and Railway Union) showed how dangerous she is with a quick tap. Now 4 from 4, Snowsill heard the siren for half time and punted the ball into touch leaving the score at South Africa 14 – 28 Barbarians F.C.


The Springbok women asked questions of the Barbarians defence from the outset of the second half. A try saving tackle from Megan Gaffney (now retired from international duty with Scotland and playing her rugby for Heriots) stopped the onslaught momentarily but a rapid turn over saw South Africa back on the front foot. The pressure proved too much and moments later Micke Gunter smashed over the try line with Libbie Janse van Rensburg calmly slotting the conversion.

The Barbarians chose this moment to flex the talent on their bench with Kathryn Buggy (Ireland and Allianz Premier 15s winners 22-23 Gloucester-Hartpury) replacing O’Connor. Two time try scorer Hughes was replaced by legend of the game Sara Barattin. Italy’s most capped player, Barattin has more than 100 caps to her name, a huge feat in the women’s game that sees a lower frequency of international test match rugby. Lindsay Peat was succeeded by Elizabeth Crake (England and new English premiership outfit Ealing Trailfinders). South Africa also saw the opportunity to bring on fresh legs with Xoliswa Khuzwayo making way for Yonela Ngxingolo.

Penalties were the platform in the second half with Snowsill trying out the legendary Barbarians backward chip. The outrageous move didn’t quite come off but it wasn’t long before we saw more of the Baabaas signature flair on display. A penalty neatly kicked by Barattin gave the Barbarians a perfect platform for a line out straight out of the training paddock. A rapid ball to the back pod, dropped down to Captain Vicky Fleetwood, saw the South Africans part like the red sea and Fleeto swan dive over the white wash. Snowsill saw her first miss of the afternoon as the wind continued to rise.

South Africa were then on the receiving end of the cards with Janse Van Rensburg being sent for cynical play. With the Boks down to 14, more changes followed. Katie Alder took the field for Patricia Garcia Rodriguez and Jo Kitlinski replacing try scorer May Campbell. With Barattin putting some serious flair into the play Snowsill spotted a gap and snuck a grubber through to Lizzie Goulden (New Zealand and Allianz Premier 15s winners 22/23 Gloucester Hartpury) dotting it down after an incredible pick up. Another miss on the conversion left the score at 21 – 38.

In the final minutes Barbarians emptied their bench with Gemma Rowland succeeding Grace Steinmetz and Kay Searcy taking the field for Ciara Griffin. But the women in green and gold weren’t going to go down without a fight. In the dying minutes of the game Sinazo Mcatshulwa sent the Barbarians a message that this was a team that was only getting better.



South Africa: Khuzwayo, Gunter, Latsha (Captain), Mcatshulwa, Lochner, Mathe, Makua, Jacobs, Potgieter, Janse van Rensburg (Vice-Captain), Cilliers, Nyanda, Grain, Samboya, Dolf

Replacements: Botes, Ntoyanto, Ngxingolo, Booi, Ubisi, Njamen, Tose, Qawe
Barbarians F.C.: Peat, Campbell, O’Connor, Blackwell, Balogun, Stafford, Fleetwood (Captain), Griffin, Hughes, Snowsill (Vice-Captain), Gaffney, Garcia Rodriguez, Steinmetz, Magatti, Goulden

Replacements: Kitlinski, Crake, Buggy, Cooney, Searcy, Barratin, Rowland, Alder