Former Scotland captain Barclay calls time on rugby career

John Barclay celebrates with the Calcutta Cup 24/2/2018
Former Scotland captain John Barclay has retired from rugby following a 16-year professional career.

Former Scotland captain John Barclay has retired from rugby following a 16-year professional career.

Barclay skippered the team in the 2017 and 2018 Six Nations, leading his team to famous home victories against Ireland, Wales and England.

Barclay initially retired from international rugby in December last year but has called it quits on all forms of rugby after his Edinburgh contract expired.

“After much thought I’ve decided to call time on my career. When you know, you know, and whilst COVID-19 has left a frustrating finish, the end isn’t about the fairytale. The whole story has been a fairytale,” he said.

“The opportunity to get to do the thing I loved as a job for 16 years has provided me with enough memories to last a lifetime.

“Whilst there are games that were particularly memorable, and undoubtedly I will miss the physical brutality of the game, what I’ll miss more than anything is the camaraderie and sense of fulfilment after a game, that comes from sharing a joint goal and purpose with friends. The memories off the pitch were as remarkable as the ones on it.”

Barclay made his Scotland debut against New Zealand at the 2007 World Cup and his Championship debut against France five months later.

He also featured at the 2011 World Cup, before replacing the injured Greig Laidlaw as captain mid-way through the 2017 Championship.

A year later Barclay led Scotland to a brilliant Calcutta Cup win before he retired from Scotland duty following the 2019 World Cup.

“To get capped was beyond my wildest dream as a child growing up. To be able to captain my country will be something I will be eternally proud of beyond anything else,” he added.

“To know I will never run out at BT Murrayfield does leave me with a tinge of sadness, but I was a supporter before I played for the team and I will be there as the team’s most fervent supporter.

“To the clubs I played for, I hope I left the clubs in better health than when I joined. And most importantly to my family, wife and three children for supporting me and allowing me to pursue my dream, I thank you. Without your support, none of this would have been possible.

“Thanks for the memories. There’s nothing else I would rather have done.”