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'The whole story has been a fairytale' - Former Scotland captain retires from professional rugby

John Barclay has called time on his 16-year career.

John Barclay facing Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
John Barclay facing Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Image: Ashley Western

FORMER SCOTLAND RUGBY captain John Barclay has announced his retirement from professional rugby following a 16-year-career.

A lengthy statement on Scottish Rugby this morning confirmed the news, with 33-year-old Barclay bidding an emotional farewell after an illustrious career.

Having brought the curtain down on his international career in December, the back row now calls time on his rugby union journey.

Barclay won 76 caps for Scotland and played in three Rugby World Cups — 2007, 2011 and 2019 — while captaining the side to Calcutta Cup glory after a famous win over England at Murrayfield in 2018. 

On the club scene, he spent eight years with Glasgow Warriors before joining Scarlets and leading them to Pro14 success in 2017.

His most recent stint came at Edinburgh Rugby, where he made 15 appearances in two seasons before being released earlier this year

“After much thought I’ve decided to call time on my career,” Barclay told Scottish Rugby.

When you know, you know and whilst Covid-19 has left a frustrating finish, the end isn’t about the fairytale. The whole story has been a fairytale.

“The opportunity to get to do the thing I loved as a job for 16 years has provided me with enough memories to last a lifetime.

“Whilst there are games that were particularly memorable, and undoubtedly I will miss the physical brutality of the game, what I’ll miss more than anything is the camaraderie and sense of fulfilment after a game, that comes from sharing a joint goal and purpose with friends. The memories off the pitch were as remarkable as the ones on it.”

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“To get capped was beyond my wildest dream as a child growing up,” he added.

“To be able to captain my country will be something I will be eternally proud of beyond anything else.

“To know I will never run out at BT Murrayfield does leave me with a tinge of sadness, but I was a supporter before I played for the team and I will be there as the team’s most fervent supporter.

“To the clubs I played for, I hope I left the clubs in better health than when I joined. And most importantly to my family, wife and three children for supporting me and allowing me to pursue my dream, I thank you. Without your support, none of this would have been possible.

“Thanks for the memories. There’s nothing else I would rather have done.”

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