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Ex-Scotland skipper John Barclay in club retirement U-turn

By Online Editors

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Former Scotland back row John Barclay is looking to continue playing but admits he could instead wind up stacking supermarket shelves due to the freeze on player recruitment due to the coronavirus. The ex-national team captain stepped away from international rugby following last year’s World Cup in Japan.


He then agreed to be released by Edinburgh following two seasons at the Guinness PRO14 club, his initial intention at the age of 33 being to retire.

However, the outbreak of the pandemic and the stoppage of rugby around the world has left him yearning to return to action and play on in 2020/21.

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Speaking to the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast, he said: “It [the pandemic] has given me a nudge to think I would like to play a couple more games. But recruitment in rugby has dried up. 

“I’m seeing how things develop over the next few months. Nothing is happening right now so I’ve got to wait and see. It’s maybe a bit tricky to find a club potentially, budgets are getting cut, all the clubs are losing money.”

Before the pandemic, the plan had been to retire at the end of this season, bidding farewell at Edinburgh following a club career that included stints at Glasgow and a PRO12 title win at Scarlets. 

Employment at a leadership development company was said to be in the pipeline, but the lack of a proper rugby send-off at Murrayfield has left Barclay, capped 76 times by Scotland, feeling unfulfilled. “Now this has happened, I feel like it’s not a great way to potentially finish, just peter out and fizzle out into nothing.


“As of now, when my last paycheque comes in, that’s it. I’m going to go from rugby player to stay-at-home dad and there’s nothing I can do about it. As of a month’s time, full-time baker or stacking shelves in the supermarket, I don’t know.”



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