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John Barclay retires from international rugby after 76 Scotland caps

Ex-captain reflects on 'privilege to wear the jersey' as he calls time on test career.

Try: John Barclay celebrates scoring against Australia in 2017
Try: John Barclay celebrates scoring against Australia in 2017 SNS Group

Former Scotland captain John Barclay has announced his retirement from international rugby.

The 33-year-old back row forward has called time on his cap career after 12 years and 76 appearances in dark blue.

Revealing his decision on Instagram, Barclay said: "This isn't an easy decision to make.

"Playing for Scotland is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication and undoubtedly one the best things I will achieve in my life. But for me and my family it feels like the right time.

"It has truly been a privilege to wear the jersey. Not many people can say they got to live their boyhood dream, but I was lucky enough to have that honour and it is something I am unbelievably proud of.

"To my family and friends for supporting me all over the world, a big thank you.

"Most importantly though, thank you to my wife for her support looking after our growing family when I have been away and for dealing with the inevitable ups and downs associated with playing international rugby.

"Not the end of my rugby journey, but the end of one chapter. Thanks for the memories."

Barclay will continue playing for his club, Edinburgh Rugby.

Born in Hong Kong and educated at Dollar Academy, Barclay made his professional debut for Glasgow Warriors in 2005 aged just 18.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5pZ2v9lEjQ/ | instagram

Two years later he won his first Scotland cap in the 2007 Rugby World Cup - a 40-0 defeat to New Zealand at Murrayfield.

As his international career went from strength-to-strength - forming one part of the 'Killer Bs' back row with Kelly Brown and Johnnie Beattie for Scotland - Barclay went on to make 148 appearances for Glasgow before leaving Warriors for Welsh side Scarlets in 2013.

He became a firm favourite in Llanelli, playing more than 100 times and was key part of the team's Pro 12 championship-winning side of 2017.

Barclay returned to Scotland in 2018 to join Edinburgh, but a ruptured Achilles prevented him from making his debut in the capital until March this year.

He then won a place in Gregor Townsend's squad for this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan, starting two games and scoring a try on what would be his final appearance wearing the Thistle, a 61-0 victory over Russia in Shizuoka.

Reacting to the news, Edinburgh teammate George Taylor said: "It is sad to see such a good player retire from international rugby but he's has such a good career.

"He is a massive figure in Edinburgh. When I was growing up I was watching him on the TV so to have him around the club is fantastic.

"He leads very well, he is a great speaker and he is very good around the boys.

"It's good now that he can focus just in Edinburgh and keep giving some good performances for us."

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