From Playing with the Women’s Eagles to Playing Against Them

Two alumni share their reaction playing against their own country in the Barbarians FC v Women’s Eagles matchup.

In the historic matchup against the Barbarians FC (Baa-Baas) and the US Women’s National Team, fans and spectators can expect to see two familiar faces. Women’s Eagle alumni, Hannah Stolba and Carman Farmer, were invited to play with the famous invitation-only club – and their reaction playing against their own country is as expected.

“To be honest, I feel that it is the biggest honor I could have aside from being a former international player. When I received the call, it was no question that I was going to be involved,” said Stolba, who was first capped as an Eagle in 2009.

“I think everyone here would tell you that they jumped at the opportunity, myself included. It is always the highest honor to play for your country; but in doing that, we don’t get to experience playing with players from other countries” said Farmer, first capped in 2013 and member of Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“We cross paths, and we play against each other all the time but to actually sit down, train with one another, talk about philosophies on playing rugby and how that compares with our own - it is just very different than our national team setup” Farmer continued.

Though the women’s team didn’t launch until 2017, the Barbarians FC inception dates back to 1890. The club contains players from different nations who come together to play a few matches in the celebration and camaraderie of the game.

“For me, I try and think of it as a really lucky group of international players, both former and current, who have an expansive idea of the game and will play good rugby” Stolba explained.

“It certainly will be weird to hear the national anthem and not be wearing an Eagles jersey. However, I easily can recognize that this is a great opportunity for the Eagles to get another match under their belt before they go into the Super Series”Carman Farmer

For Stolba and Farmer, adding their name to the list of Barbarians players is something they are still trying to sink in.

“We’ve done some pretty cool stuff, and this is right up there. From the Women’s Rugby World Cup and the Olympics – this is going to be another one of those jerseys I hold on to” Farmer added.

A component to receiving the invitation to play with the club is that once you do, you are in the club for life. In fact, the club has a tradition where every player who has worn that jersey, their name is engraved to the corresponding number on the back of the jerseys.

“When you see that, you really start to grasp the scope of the rich history that this club has. It will be cool to look back and realize we played a small part of that history” said Farmer.

“Anything for life is a wild concept” Stolba added. “Perhaps it feels like being an Eagle for life. It is a unique thing knowing you have a permanent connection with a group of people bonding over an experience like this.”

Farmer agreed to the benefit of growing her rugby network and added how different it will feel to play against her own country, “There will be giggles at the bottom of rucks for sure”.

“It certainly will be weird to hear the national anthem and not be wearing an Eagles jersey. However, I easily can recognize that this is a great opportunity for the Eagles to get another match under their belt before they go into the Super Series” Farmer continued.

With that being said, both Farmer and Stolba are not planning to take it easy on the current Eagles.

“Absolutely not, we are here to win and show good rugby. That is what the Eagles are there for too. It doesn’t do them any good if we took it easy on them” Stolba explained.

Farmer agreed, “We are going to play with some ambition – we are not going to be conservative. We have some rock stars out there, and it is shackles off.”

“We plan to give the spectators an interpretation of rugby they may not see outside the test level” Farmer concluded.

Watch Stolba and Farmer play in the Eagles V Baa-Baas Matchup live at Infinity Park or on FloRugby on April 26th, at 5:00 PM MST.