The Barbarians by Alan Evans
The Barbarian Football Club is a rugby institution that transcends the national barriers of the 15-a-side game around the world. For a century and more the Barbarians, a touring club without a permanent base, have travelled the length and breadth of Britain and Europe and as far afield as South Africa, Japan, Russia and North and South America to play matches against the mighty and the minnows. Club sides everywhere welcome them with open arms because to play against them is an honour in itself and a guarantee of a match of flowing rugby and massive crowd appeal. And the most famous players in the history of the game, from Gareth Edwards to Gavin Hastings, Michael Lynagh to Jonah Lomu, or Serge Blanco to Jeremy Guscott, have worn the famous black-and-white shirt of the Barbarians. Since 1948 the Barbarians have regularly played the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies in front of sell-out crowds at Twickenham, Cardiff Arms Park, the Millennium Stadium and Lansdowne Road in Dublin - and at one time or another beaten them all. In more recent times summer tours have featured high-profile fixtures against England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The United Nations of Rugby is the updated official history of the legendary touring club and includes personal reflections and anecdotes from several celebrated players from around the world. Famous matches such as the incomparable defeat of the 1973 All Blacks and ground-breaking tours to Canada and South Africa are recalled through the eyes of the stars who took part. Full coverage is also given to the Barbarians continuing contact with the grass roots of the game in Britain and the fostering of the sport in developing rugby nations such as Portugal. The book also addresses the question of what makes the Barbarians so special and how they have survived and flourished in the age of professional rugby.