John Barclay (rugby union)

John Adam Barclay (born 25 September 1986 in Hong Kong) is a Scottish former rugby union player, who played as a flanker. He made 76 international appearances for the Scotland national team 2007–2019. He played at three world cups. He played club rugby for Glasgow Warriors, Scarlets and Edinburgh Rugby.

John Barclay
John Barclay 2017.jpg
Birth nameJohn Adam Barclay
Date of birth (1986-09-25) 25 September 1986 (age 35)
Place of birthHong Kong
Height1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight106 kg (16 st 10 lb; 234 lb)
SchoolDollar Academy
Rugby union career
Position(s) Flanker / Number 8
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Glasgow Warriors
Edinburgh Rugby
Correct as of 5 December 2019
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2007–2019 Scotland 76 (35)
Correct as of 15 August 2020

Early lifeEdit

Barclay was born in Hong Kong, where he went to Bradbury School, discovering mini rugby at Stanley Fort RFC.[1]

He later attended Dollar Academy in Scotland, where he captained the school's 1st XV to victory against the High School of Dundee in the Scottish Schools Cup final at Murrayfield in 2004.[1]


Barlay joined Glasgow Warriors as an apprentice in 2004.[2]

Immediately after leaving school, while still only 17, he was invited to train with the Scotland squad by then-coach Matt Williams.[3] After Williams' departure Barclay was not picked for the Scotland squad again until the 2007 World Cup after a run of strong performances for club side Glasgow Warriors. He made his debut against New Zealand in the pool stages in a weakened team, losing 40–0.[3]

After the 2007 World Cup Barclay started to become involved with the Scotland squad more and became a permanent starter until the end of the 2011 World Cup.

He was man of the match in Scotland's win over South Africa at Murrayfield in 2010, and became recognised for his skills at the breakdown, and his role in the "Killer Bs" back row (Barclay, Johnnie Beattie and Kelly Brown). He was also selected in the Pro12 Dream Team at the end of the 2009/10 season.

After Scotland's exit at the pool stages of the 2011 World Cup (the first time that they hadn't reached the knock-out stages) Barclay found himself dropped from the Scotland starting XV for Edinburgh flanker Ross Rennie during the 2012 6 Nations Championship.

Barclay was picked for Scotland's summer tour to Australia and the Pacific Islands by then Scotland coach Andy Robinson. He played in Scotland's victory over Australia in Newcastle but then returned home for personal reasons, missing out on the following victory over Samoa.

In March 2012 Barclay signed a one-year contract extension, with an option to agree a further year.[4] After overcoming a series of injuries at the start of the 2012–13 season Barclay regained his form for Glasgow at the end of the season and started most games whilst Chris Fusaro suffered with injury. It was announced in the second half of the season that Glasgow had controversially reneged on a contract offer and that Barclay would join the Scarlets on a three-year contract for the next season.[5] He helped Glasgow to a third-place finish in the Pro12 and a play-off spot away to Leinster, a game which the Warriors narrowly lost.

Barclay missed Scotland's 2013 summer tour to South Africa due to requiring surgery. He started the 2013–14 season with the Scarlets and was part of the Scotland squad for the 2013 Autumn Internationals, winning a cap against South Africa at Murrayfield on 17 November 2013, when he came on as a substitute on 64 minutes.

He missed inclusion for the 2014 Six Nations squad despite many believing Scotland lacked a traditional openside flanker.[citation needed] Following the appointment of Vern Cotter as Scotland coach, Barclay was not included in any of his Scotland squads in the first year, including Cotter's first Six Nations. However he was picked in the wider 2015 World Cup training squad and earned his first cap since 2013 in the second warm-up match against Italy in August 2015. Although omitted from the final World Cup squad,[6] Barclay was once again included in the Scotland squad for the 2016 Six Nations Championship[7] and started the first four games at blindside flanker, scoring a try in the win over Italy.

In the opening match of the 2017 Six Nations Championship, Barclay was a second-half substitute in Scotland's victory over Ireland at Murrayfield. He started the following week against France, in a game that saw captain Greig Laidlaw get injured. Barclay assumed the captaincy for the final three games of the championship, which included a win over Wales for the first time in ten years. Scotland ended the campaign with three wins from five.

On 17 November 2017 it was announced that he had signed a two-year contract with Edinburgh Rugby from the start of the 2018–19 season,[8] however a ruptured Achilles tendon delayed his debut until March 2019.

On 4 December 2019 Barclay announced his retirement from international rugby, after winning 76 caps and playing in 3 World Cups.[9]

On 22 April 2020, Edinburgh's coach confirmed that Barclay's contract would not be renewed. Barclay had played fourteen matches for Edinburgh- this low number of appearances being due to a combination of injuries and international duties.[10] In June he spoke of having a desire to continue playing rugby, despite the shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic reducing any prospects of recruitment within club rugby.[11] On 15 August 2020 Barclay announced his retirement from professional rugby.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Homecoming fot Scot heroes". South China Morning Post. 29 March 2009.
  2. ^ "John Barclay to leave Glasgow Warriors in the summer". BBC Sport. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  3. ^ a b Turnbull, Simon (8 February 2009). "Barclay has stomach for the fight after rapid rise". Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Scotland flanker John Barclay to keep battling for Glasgow Warriors". The Guardian. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Scotland flanker John Barclay sign for the Scarlets". BBC Sport. 22 April 2013.
  6. ^ Hewett, Chris (1 September 2015). "Rugby World Cup 2015: John Barclay proves biggest loser in Vern Cotter's battle of kilted Kiwis". The Independent. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  7. ^ English, Tom (4 February 2016). "Six Nations 2016: 'Prodigal' John Barclay's return 'not before time'". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Fanzone grid view".
  9. ^ "John Barclay: Former captain retires from Scotland duty after 76 caps". BBC Sport. 4 December 2019. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  10. ^ "John Barclay to leave Edinburgh this summer". BBC Sport. 22 April 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  11. ^ "John Barclay: Former Scotland captain reconsiders plans to retire". BBC Sport. 2 June 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Barclay announces retirement from professional rugby". Scottish Rugby. 15 August 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2020.

External linksEdit

Sporting positions John Macphail Scholarship
John Barclay

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