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An Introduction to Invitation XV Rugby Shirt


Invitation XV Rugby Shirt is a vintage retro heritage. William Percy Carpmael, who had studied and played rugby for Cambridge University as part of the Cambridge team. The team had toured Yorkshire in 1884. Inspired by the culture behind rugby touring, he organised his first tour with Clapham Rovers in 1889. And the team faced five or six clubs in the Midlands and Yorkshire areas. This followed a year later with a team called the Southern Nomads. The team had players mainly from the Blackheath club and they visited the Home Counties of England.


Carpmael took his role with the Barbarians very seriously. He dedicated over the early years to over twenty years of hard work for the club. As well as promoting and organising, he also administered the club, writing up the club records every season. He was the club’s first Honorary Secretary and Treasurer. In 1902 he resigned his role as secretary, but in 1913 he took up the President role.

His concept of creating a touring side from various clubs to compete against the leading clubs in the land was well received. The concept gained strong support from leading players, particularly ex-university players. In early April 1890 the concept of Invitation XV Rugby agreed upon and the Barbarians F.C. formed. His idea was to create a touring team that would play the provinces at holiday times and not only contain Englishmen but players from Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The team under their new name toured later that year and beat Hartlepool Rovers 9–4 in their first game.


The original uniform was a white shirt with the monogram B.F.C. over the left breast, dark shorts and socks. It also had a skull and crossbones over the letters but this later had removal. Their now-famous uniforms, black and white hooped jerseys, with the overlapping B.F.C., did not adopt until 1891.


Carpmael played for the Ba-Baa’s on twenty occasions usually as a forward. In 2011, Carpmael had received an honour with induction to the IRB Hall of Fame.

The team got the motto by Walter Julius Carey, former Bishop of Bloemfontein and a former member of the Barbarians:

“Rugby Football is a game for gentlemen in all classes, but for no bad sportsman in any class”



Manufactured from satin touch 100% cotton, the Invitation XV Rugby Shirt features detailed embroidery on the crest. Also included in this garment is herringbone finish on the vents and velvet tape on the neck opening. Subtle Ellis Rugby branding also appears on the back of the jersey in the form of detailed embroidery. In addition, the Ellis Rugby logo is included on the jersey on the arm.

Ellis Rugby Barbarians Invitation XV Heritage Rugby Pullover