Although recent interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused some challenges for rugby in Barbados, it’s clear that the game is now gathering a renewed momentum, with a bevvy of initiatives in the pipeline for this year, set to create opportunities for all to enjoy the action of the sport at every level. 
Visitors to Barbados can get a taste of rugby all year round with regular local matches, training sessions, annual Tournaments and Championships, and ‘Open Day’ activities which are open to the general public. 
The Barbados Rugby Football Union (BRFU) also continues to look to upgrade local facilities in order to expand the island’s capacity to host world-class rugby events and to entertain even more international spectators. 
Why not make the trip and come and see for yourself why rugby enthusiasts and sports fans alike make Barbados their number one holiday destination of choice? 
Rugby’s Historical Significance 
Rugby matches in Barbados are said to date all the way back to when British troops were stationed on the island in the 1900s, and it is because of such noted deep historical ties that Barbados is officially known as the birthplace of rugby in the Caribbean. 
In fact, since these early days, the national ‘home of rugby’ has remained as the Garrison Savannah which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and key tourist attraction on the island; emphasising the early military connections with rugby in Barbados. 
Formed in 1964, the Barbados Rugby Football Union (BRFU) is the governing body for the rugby on the island, responsible for organising national team fixtures, training sessions, domestic rugby activities, and international tours. 
Since its formation, the BRFU (one of the founding members of the original Caribbean Rugby Football Union) has gone on to become a full member of World Rugby, Rugby Americas North (RAN), and the Barbados Olympic Association Inc. (BOA). 
Despite being one of World Rugby’s smallest full members, the BRFU has consistently guided the growth of rugby on the island over the years, which has seen a steady increase in popularity both locally and from overseas touring teams. 
What began as a single rugby team in Barbados, now impressively includes both Men’s and Women’s club and national teams, as well as a School’s Rugby Programme in local primary and secondary schools. Barbados has also been known to attract rugby clubs from the UK, Canada, and neighbouring Caribbean islands, all keen to compete in paradise as well as make new lifelong friends within the global rugby fraternity. 
What’s Been Happening? 
Despite disruption to regular rugby activity on the island due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2022 was actually the year of the re-emergence of rugby in Barbados, with both local and international play seen as development opportunities for players and officials to hone their skills and get back into the swing of ‘all things rugby’ ready for this year. 
Last year, the national Men’s 7s team still managed to tour the Turks and Caicos Island and win all of their matches, take part in the Colorado 7s, as well as compete in a couple of RAN tournaments. 
The rugby Juniors restarted their practice sessions, as did both touch and tag rugby, and the rugby veterans. 
Women’s rugby also took some major steps forward in its ‘Recruit and Rebuild’ mission to redevelop the rugby programme for women in Barbados. Newer players were introduced to both regional matches and local games, and the more experienced women’s players were reacclimatized back into rugby life. The Women’s team re- entered the international rugby arena with a development trip to St. Lucia – impressively placing second in the tournament. 
Rugby Barbados also became more socially responsible in 2022, joining the Barbados Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition as a way to help fight childhood obesity in Barbados. 
2023 – What Can You Expect?
This year, rugby in Barbados will be ramping up in all aspects of the sport, but particularly in the areas of youth and women’s development. 
The schools and World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby (GIR) programmes are both set to hit the ground running, with both primary and secondary schools participating in tag rugby tournaments, as well as in skills development training. These initiatives introduce over 1000 children each year to the sport of Rugby in Barbados and are crucial to the development of the sport on the island. 
2023 will also see a big general recruitment drive for rugby in Barbados with club programs in various locations being set up to build a more sustainable future for the game, while coaching and referee development will also become
a larger part of the broader local rugby agenda. 
There will be plenty of action to enjoy all throughout this year with community rugby matches played weekly (usually on Saturdays) at the Garrison Savannah. These games are FREE to watch and generally draw a diverse crowd. 
While the annual local season is officially from September to February, the rugby 15s season is generally from March to June, the 7s tends to be played from September to December, and touch rugby is played all year round – so you’ll definitely never be short on rugby matches to watch in Barbados. 
Rugby fans can also come and see the teams going through their paces at their training sessions held on various nights of the week and weekends. 
For the most up-to-date rugby scheduling and event information, please email the BRFU or visit the BRFU Facebook page @rugbybarbados.