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John Barclay keen to shine in Scotland World Cup warm-up against Italy

August 20th, 2011 by · No Comments · Features

• Flanker returns after five-month rest
• Scotland lock Alastair Kellock also returns

Scotland play Italy at Murrayfield in their second and final World Cup warm-up today. The Scotland head coach, Andy Robinson, has made 14 changes to the team that started a 10-6 victory over Ireland two weeks ago – the centre Graeme Morrison will be the only man to start both matches.

Two Glasgow forwards, the lock Alastair Kellock and the openside flanker John Barclay, will play their first matches of any kind since March, when Robinson decided to rest them – as well as the Glasgow lock Richie Gray and the Edinburgh prop Allan Jacobsen and hooker Ross Ford – from all rugby until the World Cup build-up began.

Barclay, who played 15 straight Tests before the Ireland match, said: “It’s exciting just to get to play rugby again. I’ve not played for five months, I’m a bit nervous, but looking forward to it. There seems to be a lot of quality back-rows around and throughout the squad there’s genuine competition. All I can do is play well and hopefully get on the plane.”

Barring accidents, Barclay will travel to New Zealand – the Glasgow No8 Johnnie Beattie and flanker Rob Harley and the Edinburgh flanker David Denton are the back-rowers most likely to be left at home. Harley, the Edinburgh centre Ben Cairns and the Glasgow prop Ryan Grant are the only members of Robinson’s training squad who have not been picked for either warm-up fixture.

Italy, who named their World Cup squad in July, beat Japan 31-24 last weekend. They will field a strong side at Murrayfield, led by the Stade Français No8 Sergio Parisse and with Andrea Lo Cicero of Racing Métro, who is on his way to a fourth World Cup, at loosehead prop.

 

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