James Barber (rugby)

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James Barber
Playing information
Rugby union
Position Fullback, Scrum-half
Years Team Pld T G FG P
Rugby league
Position Centre, Scrum-half
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1908–1913 Petone
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1908–12 New Zealand 6 0 0 0 0
1908–14 Wellington
Source: RLP

James Barber was a New Zealand rugby footballer who represented New Zealand in rugby league.

Rugby union career[edit]

Barber originally played rugby union and represented Wellington. He played at fullback or scrum-half and was part of the side that won the Ranfurly Shield.[1]

Rugby league career[edit]

Barber originally missed selection for the professional All Blacks for the 1907–1908 tour of Great Britain and Australia but was placed on stand by. By the time the side reached Australia in 1908 the side was short of backs, due to several players opting to remain in Britain, and Barber was called over to join the squad. He played in the first ever trans-Tasman test which was the debut match of the Australia national rugby league team. Barber would go on to appear in all three test matches against Australia.

Barber later captained the New Zealand side in its 1909 tour of Australia.[2] His last game for New Zealand was in 1912.[3]

In 1912 he was in Petone's side that won the inaugural Wellington Rugby League competition. Barber captained Wellington between 1911 and 1914, including Wellington's 1913 victory over Auckland.[4][5]


Barber was named as the Halfback in the Petone Panthers' Team of the Century in 2012.[6]


  1. ^ John Haynes From All Blacks to All Golds: Rugby League's Pioneers, Christchurch, Ryan and Haynes, 1996. ISBN 0-473-03864-1
  2. ^ "WHY THEY LOST THE FIRST THREE GAMES IN AUSTRALIA". The Evening Post, Volume LXXVII, Issue 145. 12 June 1909. p. 3. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  3. ^ BARBER, James - 1908 - 09, 1912 nzleague.co.nz
  4. ^ Lion Red 1988 Rugby League Annual, New Zealand Rugby Football League, 1988. p.p.151-159
  5. ^ Team of the Century WEEK 5 Wellington Rugby League
  6. ^ "Petone Rugby League marks its 100th year". stuff.co.nz. 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.