A cultural melting pot of rugby talent drawn from all over the world, the Barbarians are known as the sport’s great entertainers.
For the last 131 years, the world’s most famous invitational side have wowed fans far and wide with their attacking flair and dare-to-do attitude that often challenges conventional thinking.
Some of the best tries ever scored were by players wearing the famous black and white hoops, notably Gareth Edwards’ brilliant effort against the All Blacks in 1973.
However, there have been plenty of other examples of tries that have stood the test of time and demonstrate what the Barbarians are all about – and without a forward pass in sight!
Mervyn Davies v New Zealand, 1974
A year after Edwards’ worldly effort against New Zealand, the All Blacks watched on as the Baa-baas constructed another brilliant try scored by a Welshman, number eight Mervyn Davies. Davies had started the move by winning possession from a lineout on the 10-metre line. The ball was quickly spread out wide, in a classic first-phase three-quarters move, until it reached Andy Irvine.
Squeezed for space, Irvine put boot to ball and his big up-and-under caused havoc in the All Blacks’ ranks. Gerald Davies followed up but couldn’t take the ball cleanly and, as it rolled backwards, his namesake scooped the ball at pace and blasted his way through his opposite number to score a try that earned the Baa-baas a 13-13 draw and denied the All Blacks a clean sweep of wins on tour in the process.
Colin Laity v Australia, 1988
A 40-22 win for a superb Wallabies side featured a mesmeric solo effort from David Campese, and another try from the gods from uncapped Cornishman, Neath’s Colin Laity.
Receiving the ball from Michael Lynagh’s kick-off, the Barbarians opted to run from deep inside their own 22. An audacious chip over the top at full pace by Jonathan Davies opened up space and the Welsh fly-half regathered the ball, one-handed, before passing it on to Laity, up in support. Laity then shipped the ball on to England flyer, Rory Underwood, who effortlessly advanced 25 metres before returning the favour with an inside ball. Laity dived over and thumped the turf in celebration knowing he had finished off something special.
Phil Davies v England XV, 1990
Neil Back was still four years away from making his England debut and had a mop of blonde hair when he played an influential role in one of the best tries ever seen at Twickenham. Nick Farr-Jones, who would go on to hold the Webb Ellis Cup at the ground a year later, started a move which involved brilliant interlink play between forwards and backs with Back the conduit.
From a tap penalty, Farr-Jones gave the ball to prop Richard Loe who in turn found fellow all Black Eric Rush. Rush’s burst of pace down the middle gave the move the momentum it needed and when he was halted in his tracks, Back received the ball and shipped it on to Joe Stanley, whose floated pass was collected out wide by David Campese. Campese showed two defenders the outside and then wrong-footed them by delivering a no-look overhead pass back inside which Back took on the run before supplying the final pass to Welshman Phil Davies, who strode over for a magnificent score.
The try was in vain, however, as England won the match 18-16.
Joe Stanley v Wales, 1990
Quick hands and a burst of pace from ‘Smokin’ Joe Stanley took the Baa-baas over halfway with Jean-Baptiste Lafond lurking out wide waiting for his chance to pounce.
Stanley’s trademark floated pass was high and slightly behind the France international but he took it cleanly and then showed Alan Edmunds – in what proved to be his second and final cap – a clean pair of heels, stopping and then going in a split second to throw his opposite number completely off balance.
Lafond, a beautifully balanced runner, burst down the touchline and cut back inside three defenders before finding Stanley up in support and the outside centre strolled over to make the score 10-3.
The Barbarians went on to win 31-24.
Ieuan Evans v Argentina XV, 1990
A marvellous team try that was initiated by the mercurial Mark Ring and involved eight different players. Ring gathered his own chip kick and with soft hands lifted the ball in the direction of Richard Webster.
The no-nonsense flanker took the ball on the charge and had the presence of mind, and the skill, to pop the ball up to Ian Jones before he was tackled to the ground. Jones kept the ball in play wideout on the left, feeding Rob Jones on his inside.
Jones gave the ball to Phil Davies, and when Craig Chalmers got it, as it spread from left to right, the Baa-baas had a four-on-one overlap. The classy Scot found Simon Hodgkinson and the English full-back drew his final man to put Ieuan Evans away in the clear.
The Barbarians won 34-22.
Jonah Lomu v Scotland, 2001
An incredible display of attacking rugby from the All Blacks ended in a 74-31 win to the tourists at Murrayfield and, unsurprisingly, Jonah Lomu was their destroyer-in-chief with four tries and two assists in his 58 minutes on the pitch.
Spectators were still taking to their seats when Lomu registered the evening's first score with his very first touch.
After a Scotland attack had been halted just short of the line, the Baa-baas moved the ball under the shadow of their own posts to Lomu who put on the after-burners and outpaced the hapless Cameron Murray.
Breyton Paulse v Australia 2001
Paulse and Scott Staniforth both scored hat-tricks as the Wallabies ended their tour in style in Cardiff with a thumping 49-35 win.
Twelve tries were scored in total with the pick of them, Paulse’s first, coming when the scores were tied at 14-14.
Barbarians games always bring something different to the table and a Darren Morris chip-kick was the unlikely catalyst for the try.
Mark Andrews scooped up the ball on the charge, and after some superb follow up work, including a chip inside from Stefan Terblanche and a selfless pass from Olivier Magne, Paulse dotted down to put the Baa-baas back in front.
Isa Nacewa v Wales, 2011
The Barbarians were trailing 28-24 with less than a minute left on the clock when Sergio Parisse and rugby union debutant, Willie Mason, kept the ball alive in midfield with a couple of offloads under pressure.
Leinster’s prolific try-scorer Isa Nacewa received the ball from Aussie league star Mason 65 metres out and left Taulupe Faletau for dead.
Morgan Stoddart tried valiantly to catch him but Nacewa had enough gas left in the tank to make it over the line and break Welsh hearts.