• MySTV

John Barclay: Scotland must step up to beat Australia

The captain knows a different test lies ahead after victory against Italy.

John Barclay: Captain of Gregor Townsend's first tour.
John Barclay: Captain of Gregor Townsend's first tour. SNS Group

Scotland captain John Barclay has told his team they must step up a level if they are to have any hope of claiming a win in Australia on Saturday.

Gregor Townsend began his reign as the Dark Blues' head coach with a 34-13 victory over Italy in Singapore last weekend.

They face a much tougher test of their credentials when they run out against the Wallabies at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

There were some moments of magic against the Italians, including four tries in a ten-minute spell, but Barclay knows they will need to raise their game in many other areas.

He said: "We have to get better across the board, really. We did some OK things, some good things last week, though It is hard to analyse the game too much because the conditions were unique.

"We need to look after the ball a lot better and, defensively, Australia will pose a much bigger challenge because they move the ball very well and have got skillful players.

"We will have to be a lot more astute, a lot more switched on and a lot more physical to deal with them."

He added: "They play a bit differently to Northern Hemisphere teams. They run from everywhere, that is the way they play rugby over here. It must be fun to play but it presents a challenge for us to try to stop them.

"(Australia coach) Michael Cheika did that when he was in charge at Leinster and you can see the influence he had there - they play a very similar brand."

The Dark Blues have scored have three tries in their last two matches against Australia before losing by a single point.

With that record, Barclay believes they can be confident of scoring but warned the big improvements must come in defence against a side of natural ball-handlers.

The captain added: "You can see the lifestyle - it is all outdoors, there are so many sports people can play, league, AFL, union.

"That helps with the way they played the game. They are all very comfortable ball-in-hand.

"The ball will be fast so we are going to try to slow it down - every team does. If you look at the game in the autumn, then we did that very well, we turned them over a lot, but it is a big challenge."

https://stv.tv/sport/rugby/1390902-townsend-gets-winning-start-as-scotland-head-coach/ | default

Scotland have most of their frontline forwards available but are missing many of their backs through either injury or British and Irish Lions selection.

Barclay feels the real test for Townsend's side is for the new-look back division to show the same threat that Scotland have started to take for granted.

The flanker said: "Ali Price has played very well, Finn (Russell) has obviously been there for a while as has Alex Dunbar in the centre. Duncan Taylor was arguably our back of the season the year before last.

"I have watched the Glasgow games and Lee Jones has been one of their best players. It's a different team but there is more quality in depth now and it's great for these guys to have a go."

He added: "Last week Damien Hoyland had a really good game and was keen to impress. I think he played great but Lee has got a chance this week and I'm sure he'll give it a go.

"This is a big step up, this is the big league. We are playing in Australia's backyard and it will be pretty busy against one of the top teams in the world. We understand how big the challenge is."

https://stv.tv/sport/rugby/1391293-gregor-townsend-rings-changes-for-test-against-australia/ | default

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.


We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.


Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.


Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.



Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.