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Exclusive: The true extent of Barclay's injury and what it means for Scotland

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Scotland captain John Barclay

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Scotland captain John Barclay preparations for the 2019 World Cup have been dealt a massive blow.


RugbyPass can exclusively reveal Barclay had surgery yesterday on a complete rupture of his Achilles tendon.

The projected recovery time is six to nine months meaning he could be out until February. Barclay will miss the November internationals and there’s a chance he’ll be unavailable Scotland’s opening three Six Nations matches, against Italy and Ireland at home, followed by France in Paris. Should it take until the end of February to recover, he’s unlikely to be rushed back, with Scotland concluding their campaign with fixtures against Wales on March 9th and England on March 16th.

Barclay will be desperate to prove his form and fitness for the World Cup in Japan, having missed out on selection for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The 31-year-old picked up the injury early in the Scarlets 28-13 PRO14 semi-final win against his former club Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun on Friday.

Initially Barclay was ruled out of the PRO14 final, but he’s now set for a lengthy period on the sidelines.
The match against Glasgow proved to be Barclay’s last game for the Scarlets as he ends a five year stint with the Welsh club. He is returning to Scotland to play for Edinburgh, where he has signed a two-year deal with Richard Cockerill’s side.

A statement from the Scarlets said “Together with the Scottish Rugby Union and Edinburgh Rugby we have made arrangements for John to begin his recovery and rehabilitation in Edinburgh.”

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The backrow’s injury is a massive blow for Edinburgh as they prepare for a return to the Champions Cup next season.

Speaking at the time of signing for Edinburgh Barclay said “Edinburgh as a club, and as a city, has a huge amount of potential and I can see what they are trying to do, so I am looking forward to being part of it.”

“Scotland is home, so it’ll be great to come back and play at one of my home clubs.”


Cockerill was fulsome in his praise for Barclay when his impending arrival was confirmed last November.

“He’s a terrific player, with a proven track record and his leadership values will only add to the strong culture we’re building at this club. John is committed to taking Edinburgh forward and his ambition to create a winning environment will benefit our squad immensely.”

Barclay, who has 71 caps, was already going to miss Scotland’s summer tour of Canada, USA and Argentina with Gregor Townsend electing to rest a number of senior players.

Barclay made his Scotland debut during the 2007 Rugby World Cup against New Zealand. Having missed the 2015 World Cup Barclay’s resurgence in form while at the Scarlets saw him return to the Scotland fold for the 2016 Six Nations. He took over as captain during the 2017 Six Nations following an injury to Greig Laidlaw and retained the duties for this year’s tournament, leading Scotland to third place including a 25-13 victory over England, the first Calcutta Cup success in ten years.

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