The Barbarians has announced the launch of a women’s team that will play for the first time against Munster on 10th November.
The invitation club, founded in 1890, will now make its women's debut at Thomond Park against the Irish side and will play against club, provincial and international sides with a full schedule to be confirmed later this year.
A Women's Rugby World Cup winner in 1994 with England, Giselle Mather, who is also in charge of Tyrrells Premier 15s side Wasps FC Ladies, will coach the team in the first of a number of matches planned for the 2017/18 season.
The Barbarians will field players from seven different nations in their opening game, with the accepted invitations totalling 440 international caps between them, including England's Claire Cripps and Megan Goddard. Other players who have agreed to play include Susie Brown (Scotland), Fiona Coghlan (Ireland), Ellen Evans (Wales), Emma Jenson (New Zealand), Christelle Le Duff (France) and Kelly Russell (Canada).
Barbarians chairman John Spencer said: “We’re delighted to open a new chapter in the Barbarian FC’s history with the creation of our women’s team this season.
“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 are one of the reasons I fell in love with rugby and to be coaching this side is a massive honour,” added Mather.
"The state of the women’s game is phenomenal at the moment following events like the World Cup and the launch of the Tyrrells Premier 15s in England. With the Barbarians coming in on top of that it’s taking the game to a different level.”