John Barclay quits Scotland to put his focus on Edinburgh

‘Not the end of the journey’ says former captain

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 3:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 3:45 pm
John Barclay won 76 caps for Scotland

Former Scotland captain John Barclay has announced his retirement from international rugby.

The 33-year-old flanker won 76 caps for his country during a 12-year Test career that included the recent World Cup in Japan.

Barclay, who played in three World Cups, made his Scotland debut during the 2007 tournament.

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“All good things must come to an end. After much thought I have decided the time is right to step down from the international game,” Barclay said.

“This isn’t an easy decision to make.

“Playing for Scotland is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication and undoubtedly one of the best things I will achieve in my life. But for me and my family, it feels like the right time.

“It has truly been a privilege to wear the jersey.

“Not many people can say they got to live their boyhood dream, but I was lucky enough to have that honour, and it is something I am unbelievably proud of.

“To my family and friends for supporting me all over

the world, a big thank you.

“Most importantly though, thank you to my wife for her support looking after our growing family when I have been away and for dealing with the inevitable ups and downs associated with playing international rugby.

“Not the end of my rugby journey, but the end of one chapter. Thanks for the memories.”

Barclay made more than 250 appearances for Glasgow and the Scarlets before joining Edinburgh in 2018.

His final Test match appearance came in a World Cup pool victory over Russia two months ago.

The first recipient of the prestigious Macphail Scholarship, Barclay’s promise was evident from his early teens and – less than a month after his 18th birthday – he was included in the extended squad for Scotland’s Autumn Tests, before he had made his Glasgow debut, which followed in November that year.

That was followed by his selection as one of five uncapped players in Scotland’s squad for World Cup preparation and his debut against the All Blacks.

His Six Nations debut followed in the opening match of the 2008 tournament against France, followed by facing Wales in Cardiff and the second Test win against Argentina in Buenos Aires, scoring his first Scotland try against Canada in the autumn that year.

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend said: “I was fortunate enough to coach John at both club and national level, and throughout that time he was a very consistent and committed performer.

“He put his body on the line for his country on many occasions and was always very proud and passionate about playing for Scotland. That, combined with his rugby intelligence, are key qualities that have made him the player he is today. He’s had some major moments and performances that have helped Scotland win – the win against Australia in Sydney when he led the team so well, and our win against England in the Calcutta cup in 2018 spring to mind from recent times – where his presence around the breakdown, his work-rate and support play in attack showed him leading by example and really drove the team to success.

“He’s been a pleasure to coach over the last few years and we wish him well him in his future career. He still has a lot to give as player but he can be very proud of what he’s achieved for Scotland.”