From the Barbarians’ website:
Barbarian Women are back!
Two years on from the Barbarian Women beating South Africa Women’s XV 60-5 in front of a then-record crowd of 29,581 at Twickenham Stadium, the Club has announced the Women’s side will be embarking on a two-match – and two hemisphere – Autumn tour.
And what a side it is. With 631 caps from eight nations and featuring Rugby World Cup winners as well as Premier 15s champions, the squad of 24 will be coached by Premier 15s-winning Gloucester-Hartpury Sean Lynn, the King of Hartpury, who will prepare Barbarian Women for two fixtures: South Africa and Munster.
Barbarian Women team founder and Barbarian Committee member Fiona Stockley said: “I am absolutely thrilled to get Barbarian Women back on the road. Two years on from our historic match at Twickenham against South Africa Women’s XV, it will be very exciting to go down to Cape Town for the return fixture – a city with so much passion for our game.
“And then onto Munster, which holds a special place in my heart as the venue for the first-ever Barbarian Women’s match. I’m sure both sides will be looking to overturn the last scorelines and we are looking forward to coming together, bonding as a squad and putting on two great shows of rugby.”
The squad travels to Cape Town first for a return fixture, playing South Africa Women’s XV on Saturday 23 September at Athlone Stadium, kick-off 4.30pm, with the South African side keen to show the Barbarians what they can do on home turf.
SA Rugby’s High-Performance Manager: Women, Lynne Cantwell, welcomed the news of the BaaBaas visit.
“We were truly honoured when invited to play the BaaBaas at Twickenham at the end of 2021 and although effects of the Covid pandemic at the time impacted on the game, we still played them with close to 30 000 people in attendance, the highest spectator count for a women’s game at the time. They come with a team that will be packed with international experience and class and their presence in Cape Town will be a massive boost to the exposure of the WXV tournament. This is going to be an historic and very meaningful match for women’s rugby in the country and continent.”
From Cape Town, Barbarian Women head back to the northern hemisphere to face last year’s Interprovincial Champions Munster as part of a double header with the men’s side. This occasion marks six years since the Barbarian Women’s inaugural match, also against Munster at Thomond Park. As the first place where women ran out in the famous Black and White, the Club is proud they are returning alongside the men’s side for a repeat fixture.
And no doubt Munster will be looking to reverse the 19-0 scoreline from 2017! Both matches take place at Thomond Park, with Barbarian Women kicking off at 2pm and Barbarian Men following at 4.30pm.
Featured in the squad are some world-class legends of the women’s game. England veteran and Rugby World Cup 2014 winner Vicky Fleetwood (82 caps) and Wales’ Elinor Snowsill (76 caps) join Patricia Garcia Rodriguez, capped 42 times for Spain XVs and 384 for Spain 7s, and Italy’s most-capped player Sara Barratin.
Ireland’s Lindsay Peat (38 caps) and Ciara Griffin (41 caps) return to the Barbarians and will be joined by Black Ferns 2017 Rugby World Cup winners Carla Hohepa and Eloise Blackwell.
These international stars will provide valuable insight and experience to five uncapped players, who will have the tour of their lives in South Africa and Ireland: Beth Stafford (Sale Sharks), Christiana Balogun (Bristol Bears), Kayleigh Searcy (Sale Sharks), Katie Alder (Wasps) and Elizabeth Goulden (Gloucester-Hartpury).
Tickets are available for the double header between Barbarian F.C. and Munster here. Watch this space for details on how to follow South Africa Women’s XV v Barbarian Women.
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.