The Barbarians are to launch a women’s team that will take the field for the first time this season. The famous invitation club founded in 1890 becomes twice as exciting when the women’s side makes its debut against Munster at Thomond Park on Friday, November 10.
England World Cup winner Giselle Mather will coach the team in the first of a number of matches planned for the 2017-18 season. Managed by Fiona Stockley, the Barbarians will play against club, provincial and international sides with a full schedule to be confirmed later this year.
“We’re delighted to open a new chapter in the Barbarian FC’s history with the creation of our women’s team this season,” said Barbarians Chairman John Spencer.
“Its formation is something we’ve been working towards for a number of years and it is a reflection of the excellence of the global women’s game which was showcased so brilliantly at this year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland.
“Our aim is to welcome more talented players into this iconic club to forge new friendships and play with the style and passion for which the Barbarians are famous. We are working with clubs and unions around the world to make sure it benefits the players and the game.”
The Barbarians will field players from seven different nations in their opening women’s game. Those who have already accepted invitations have 440 international caps between them. They are Susie Brown (Scotland), Fiona Coghlan (Ireland), Claire Cripps and Megan Goddard (England), Elen Evans (Wales), Emma Jenson (New Zealand), Christelle Le Duff (France) and Kelly Russell (Canada).
“The Barbarians are one of the reasons I fell in love with rugby and to be coaching this side is a massive honour,” said Mather, the Wasps Director of Rugby and a World Cup winning player in 1994.
“I can’t wait to get these players from all different nationalities together with everything they bring from their different environments. It’s going to be a massive opportunity for all these athletes.
“The state of the women’s game is phenomenal at the moment following events like the World Cup and the launch of the Tyrrell’s Premier 15s in England. With the Barbarians coming in on top of that it’s taking the game to a different level.”
The launch of the Barbarians women’s team is supported by World Rugby and the Women’s Sport Trust, the UK charity using the power of sport to accelerate gender equality.