- Red Roses name squad to face Barbarians - read
- Barbarians Women announce squad for England - read
- Buy tickets for the double header here
As the Red Roses prepare to face the Barbarians for the first time ever this Sunday, England Rugby looks at the importance of the fixture in this historical meeting.
Although Barbarian FC played their first game in 1890, it was not until 2017 that the women’s Barbarians team was established and they are now looking to make up for lost time and make their own mark on the international stage.
It’s been good going so far. The Barbarians Women played their first ever game with mixture of seven different nationalities against Munster at Thomond Park on November 10 last year in a 19-0 win, followed that with a 37-0 victory over the Army, and then in April in their first international game they beat the USA 34-33.
It was William Percy Carpmeal who come up with the concept of the Barbarians, inspired by his playing experiences at Blackheath and Cambridge University and wanting to spread fellowship amongst rugby football players and things he saw great about the game – flair, courage, spirit and passion.
Sticking to the unique ethos of the Baa Baas club that is a 129 years old, the win over USA saw moments you would expect from any side wearing the black and white – a stunning length of the field try from Jasmine Joyce, who bagged a four tries, and a behind-the-back kick from Eli Snowsill that stunned those lucky to witness it with its execution.
"We got to watch a video before the game with ex-Barbarians talking about what it meant for them to play in the jersey and that inspired and motivated us,” said the Barbarians captain against USA, three-time New Zealand World Cup winner Linda Itunu.
"The history and who’s played in the shirt is something the girls don’t take lightly, they know who’s gone before them and that’s the power of this jersey."
Expect more of the same this weekend as the women’s Barbarians play on their biggest stage so far at the Home of England Rugby, but their three-game unbeaten run will face its toughest test so far when they face the Red Roses.
Simon Middleton’s side won the 2019 Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam securing a try bonus-point in each of their five games, running in 45 tries in their five outings. Since the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, England have lost just once, away to France, winning 15 of their 16 games.
Since that 2017 tournament where England were beaten by New Zealand in the final, England have brought through a number of younger faces to the squad as they look ahead to the next World Cup which will be hosted by the Black Ferns in 2021.
This fixture will act as a warm-up for the 2019 Women’s Rugby Super Series taking place in San Diego, where the top five sides in the world will face-off in a round robin style tournament – England along with world number one outfit New Zealand, France, Canada and USA.
“This year’s summer tour promises to be a fantastic competition and a tremendous opportunity in terms of the next stage of development,” said head coach Middleton.
“Given the calibre of teams involved this will be the most competitive summer series we’ve been a part of to date and will form an important part of our preparation for the next Women’s Rugby World Cup.”
Whatever happens it should not only be a historic rugby event as the Red Roses not only face the Barbarians, but also a first as they play before the England men for the first time instead of after when the Quilter Cup match takes place against the Barbarians. It should be some spectacle.