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An Introduction to Vintage Rugby Team T-Shirt


The Vintage Rugby Team T-Shirt Invitation XV is a heritage style garment. It is inspired by the Invitation Rugby teams of the past.


Invitation XV rugby was conceived in 1890 at the Oyster bar in Bradford. During a rugby tour of Yorkshire and the midlands by the Southern Nomads team. The organiser William Percy Carpmael who was a Cambridge & Blackheath formed the Barbarian club. The team also included the likes of Sammy Woods, Emile de Lissa, Jock Wemyss, Percy Coles and WJ Carey.


WJ Carey a rugby union forward who played club rugby for Oxford University and Blackheath wrote the Barbarians their motto:-

“Rugby football is a game for gentlemen in all classes, but never for a bad sportsman in any class” –

This ensured that the Barbarians did not discriminate upon class, race, creed or color. And the only qualification to be a member was that you were a good rugby player and a good sportsman.

Carey was a keen all round sportsman.  He won four sporting ‘Blues’ in The Varsity Match between 1894–1897 while at Cambridge as a student. Although he never played international rugby for England. He represented the British Isles on their tour of South Africa in 1896. Carey scored a try in the opening Test at Port Elizabeth and played in all four Tests against the Springboks.

The original shirt that the Barbarian team wore had a skull and crossbones along with the monogram B.F.C. over the left breast.



This Ellis Rugby Vintage Rugby Team T-Shirt Invitation XV is manufactured from Satin touch 100% Cotton and features the Skull & Crossbones as a smart appliqué on the front chest. Ellis Rugby branding also features on the design on the arm. In addition herringbone detail on side vents and velvet tape on neck opening.

Ellis Rugby Invitation XV Vintage Rugby T-Shirt