In September 1968 a group of expatriate British Rugby players decided to form a club in order to continue playing the sport in the manner in which they were accustomed back home, especially the well-known after the match social aspects.
Over the next few years things developed rapidly. In 1970, the Second XV was born, by 1972 the Belgian National side had been beaten and the Belgian Cup won. In 1973, the Third XV was launched and with a steadily improving fixture list we were playing with credit such sides as Coventry, Blackheath, Newbridge and Public School Wanderers. In 1974 the Belgian Cup was won again. This halcyon period continued unabated through to the club's very successful tour of the USA in May 1978, when we played seven matches and the First XV remained unbeaten against the best sides on the East Coast.
Since 1978 the club has continued to remain one of the most active and successful expatriate clubs in Europe. During this latter period the standard of Belgian Rugby and the number of clubs has increased significantly. In 1982 we won the Belgian Cup for the third time and finished off with a successful tour to Canada. In 1980 we entered the Belgian League division Five. During the following years we worked our way through the divisions gaining promotion in successive seasons and took the championship of the Premier Division at our first attempt in 1985. At the end of that season we celebrated with our third major tour, this time to Colorado, USA. Whilst since then we have failed to emanate winning the championship, we have had successful tours to USA (Boston), Spain (thrice), Czechoslovakia (twice), Ireland, Estonia, Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal.
The club has also organised International Charity Rugby Matches in 1986-87-90-91 which brought to Belgium many of the most famous Rugby players of the 1970s and early 1980's from the Five Nations to play against a Belgian Select side, which at the same time raised over €60,000 for various deserving charities.
Whilst the majority of players traditionally came from Great Britain and Ireland, there have nearly always been members from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA plus other neighbouring European countries. In the 1980s we had all three of the Western Samoan's Ambassador's sons playing for us, the oldest Vince Fepuleia going on to play for Western Samoa against Wales at Cardiff Arms Park in 1988. Several times we have fielded a first XV with players from 11 different countries, probably a world record! In our 45 years history we have had members from over 47 different countries. In 2000 we changed the name from "British" to "Barbarians", remaining BBRFC, thus reflecting the wide membership base, but still staying an English speaking club welcoming players of any nationality, and always having a few Belgian players in our membership. Indeed we are very proud that one of our Belgian members and a former player, Freddy Thielemans, was, until recently, the long-serving Mayor of Brussels.
Since 1995 we have also successfully run a Ladies XV, becoming Belgian Champions in 2006. Since 2005 we have also been an international partner club of English Premiership side Saracens FC.
In May 2008 we had the honour of hosting a training session and dinner for The "Barbarian FC" in advance of their match against Belgium. One of our members Mat Hocken, a former Cambridge Blue and New Zealand U-21 player was part of that Belgian team, and subsequently in November that year was invited to play for the Barbarians in their annual fixture against the United Services in Plymouth, England.
With the advent of the recessionary times of those past years the playing strength of the club took a bit of a hit, a reflection that companies employed less expats than in former times. Hence the team was left out with only one senior mens team and one ladies team, with the mens team playing in the Flemish Regional League (fourth level of Belgian Rugby). The aim was therefore to return to the national leagues and turn out a regular second team.
Further our symbol, the Manneken-Pis with a Rugby ball under his arm is a unique and now famous emblem amongst world Rugby clubs. We hope in our own special way that BBRFC has helped raise the standard of Belgian Rugby over the years, plus publicising the game both here and abroad.
Indeed we are confidently look forward to celebrating the club's 50th anniversary in 2018 in style both on and of the pitch.