The back-rower has not played since rupturing his Achilles in his final game for Welsh outfit Scarlets in last season’s Guinness PRO14 semi-final clash with Glasgow.
But the 71-time capped flanker will return to the Murrayfield stage he has graced so often with the national team when he makes his first appearance for Richard Cockerill’s side – who he joined in the summer – against reigning league champions Leinster.
There is a further boost for the capital club ahead of their showdown with the Irish side with the news Barclay’s Scotland team-mate Matt Scott will also make his own comeback from a five-month lay-off caused by a head injury suffered against Toulon back in October.
Cockerill has named a starting XV that features 10 internationals – including Darcy Graham, Hamish Watson, Ben Toolis and WP Nel who will be on a high after playing key roles for Gregor Townsend’s Dark Blues as they claimed an astonishing 38-38 Calcutta Cup draw at Twickenham.
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And a repeat of the display they put in during a an explosive second-half fightback against Eddie Jones’ England will be essential as Edinburgh look to re-ignite their play-off hopes after just one win in their last four PRO14 fixtures.
Cockerill said: “We need to be as strong as we can be because we’ve had some poor results where we’ve slipped up where we shouldn’t have. That’s put us in a situation where, with four league games to go, we’re probably going to have to win all of them if we want to qualify for the play-offs.
— Edinburgh Rugby (@EdinburghRugby) March 21, 2019
“There’s been a lot of disruption over the last two months because of the Six Nations, but it is now back to the bread and butter of the league and making sure we get it right. It’ll be good to have John Barclay back on the field and he can share his experience with the rest of the team.
“He’s a fantastic player and his leadership around the group and his knowledge of the game is very, very good, and that could well be important for us in the run-in.”
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