Former Scotland captain John Barclay has announced his retirement at the age of 33.
The back-rower won 76 caps for his country and played in three Rugby World Cups during an illustrious 16-year professional career.
Barclay played for Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh either side of a spell with the Scarlets, winning the Pro14 title with the Welsh region in 2017.
Edinburgh announced in April that Barclay would be leaving the club and he has now decided to hang up his boots.
After much thought and deliberation I have decided to bring down the curtain on my career and retire from the game. When you know, you know. I never wanted to get to the point where I was playing for the sake of it. Physically I could have kept going for a little while, but at nowhere near the level I wanted. The body has had enough, and the mind is ready to move on to the next step. The opportunity to live a dream is something that not many can honestly say they did. I can say hand on heart that I did. I leave the game with enough memories to last a lifetime. Whilst there are games, tournaments and milestones that were memorable , what I will miss more than anything is the camaraderie and sense of fulfillment that comes after a game. Sharing a common goal with your best friends and striving for that goal is some of life’s most fulfilling work. Nothing will ever compare to running out at Murrayfield or Parc Y Scarlets for a big game, but the truly special moments I will miss belong in the dressing room before and after games. That is where brotherhood is created. To get capped was beyond my wildest dreams as a kid growing up. To be able to go on and captain Scotland and Scarlets is something I will be eternally proud and grateful of. Knowing I wont get the chance to run out with the team does leave a tinge of sadness, but I was a supporter before I was a player, and I will be a fervent supporter again. To the clubs I played for; Glasgow, Scarlets & Edinburgh. I feel truly privileged to have played for these clubs. A special mention to Scarlets is a must who gave me my finest memories in a great 5 year period. Moving clubs doesn’t always work out. I feel extremely lucky to have been in the right place at the right time with some outstanding players, coaches and men during my spell there. Team, culture, tradition and heritage embodied in one club. And finally the biggest thanks has to go to my family. My Mum, Dad & brother David for supporting me always, and especially my wife Hayley and sons, Finlay, Logan & Max. Without your support none of this would have been possible. You were the reason I played. Thanks for the memories
Barclay told Scottishrugby.org: “After much thought I’ve decided to call time on my career. 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.
“To get capped was beyond my wildest dream as a child growing up. 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 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.”
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