Photo: Max Haynes (mxfotos.com)
GLENDALE, CO. – The Women’s Eagles 15s will face the famous Barbarians F.C. (Baa-Baas) on April 26 as the curtain raiser for a Major League Rugby (MLR) matchup between the Glendale Raptors and Rugby United New York at Infinity Park, USA Rugby announced today.
Taking place in the heart of RugbyTown USA — also home of the Glendale Merlins of the Women’s Premier League and the HSBC USA Women’s Sevens — this will be the first time a Barbarians side has ever faced a USA Rugby national team.
Originally founded in 1890 with a women’s team launched in 2017, the Barbarians are one of the most famous rugby names in the world, who have competed against 21 different national teams (women’s and men’s combined) and come away with an unbeaten record.
The team itself features the best national team players from multiple unions across the globe, all coming together to form one high-caliber side comparable to an All-Star team. Being an incredibly competitive opponent, the Barbarians fit well within the U.S. Women’s National Team’s strategy to grow and evolve in depth by testing their strengths against the best in the world.
The match will serve as as the conclusion to a high performance training camp which will see more than 50 USA women’s athletes train and compete for the opportunity to play the Baa-Baas at week’s end. Camp will serve two functions in not only identifying the match-day 23 to face the Barbarians, but also in helping Women’s National Team staff further identify and develop talent as part of its ongoing Campaign Plan for Rugby World Cup New Zealand 2021.
USA Rugby General Manager for Women’s High Performance Emilie Bydwell said: “We are thrilled to work with the Barbarians to bring their women’s team across to the United States. We are very thankful for the support we’ve received from Glendale and Infinity Park to make this match and camp happen. The game aligns perfectly with this stage in our campaign plan, securing more fixtures for our Women’s Eagles and giving our High Performance camp greater meaning and excitement. Following the conclusion of the Regional Programming at the end of March, the April HP camp will serve as our next step in preparation for the June test series.”
Barbarians Chairman John Spencer said: “The Barbarians launched their women’s team in 2017 to bring together talented players to play with the spirit of enjoyment and entertainment for which the club is famous. Taking on international opponents for the first time is another landmark moment for the team and facing a side ranked No.5 in the USA Women’s Eagles will be a marvellous challenge.
“It is wonderful to see the Barbarians return to the USA for the first time since 1976, when we played club sides on both the East and West coasts. That summer tour saw some of rugby’s greatest names — Phil Bennett and JJ Williams among them — involved and I’m sure next month’s team will include women’s players of a similar standing from around the world.”
The Women’s Eagles will assemble on April 20 in Glendale, CO and play intrasquad matches as part of their preparation to face the Baa-Baas later that week. Kickoff between the Eagles and Barbarians is set for 5 PM Mountain Time with the MLR matchup to follow at 7:30 PM.
Tickets are on sale now at glendaleraptors.com/tickets, starting at only $25 for Adults and $5 for kids with additional levels and packages available. One ticket is valid for both games.
The Barbarians match will be broadcast LIVE on FloRugby.com.