Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Who are the Barbarians?

The Barbarians face Fiji in Belfast on Friday in their third game of November.

The opening match at Wembley on Saturday was an entertaining 31-31 draw against South Africa before the Baa-Baas hammered the Czech Republic 71-0 in Prague on Tuesday.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a closer look at the Barbarians.


The Barbarians are a group of players from various clubs who come together to play a handful of matches a year. Traditionally at least one uncapped player is selected for each match. Thirty-one different nationalities have represented the Baa-Baas.


The whole point is to simply enjoy the game. With less pressure to win than in normal competitive matches, the Barbarians aim to produce free-flowing and attacking rugby.


The club was formed by William Percy Carpmael, who initially played rugby for Cambridge University. He was inspired to set up the Barbarians following a rugby tour with the university. Carpmael thought it was a great opportunity to line up with players who were usually opponents in an end-of-season tour. In 1890 the first-ever Barbarians match took place, with Hartlepool Rovers beaten 9-4.


The Barbarians wear black and white hooped shirts and black shorts but each player wears the socks of their home club strip.


The Barbarians do not have a home ground. The club go on tours, invited by various home nations. The Baa-Baas have faced England on 15 occasions, winning seven and losing eight times. The club have played in 25 countries, including Spain, Tunisia, Georgia and Portugal.


Tony O'Reilly holds the record for the most appearances and most tries for the Barbarians. Former Ireland international O'Reilly made 30 appearances over seven years, scoring 38 tries.


The Barbarians' record victory came against Belgium in 2008, convincingly defeating the Black Devils 84-10. The Baa-Baas' biggest defeat came against England in 2015, losing 73-12 at Twickenham. Christian Wade scored a hat-trick in a dominant victory for the hosts.


From Belfast Telegraph