Barclay pushing for World Cup spot
John Barclay will seek to secure his place in Scotland's Rugby World Cup squad with a strong display in the EMC Test with Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The Glasgow Warriors flanker was this week selected to pack down for his first competitive action since Scotland defeated Italy in the RBS 6 Nations and is eager to show his worth as head coach Andy Robinson prepares to name his 30-man World Cup squad on Monday.
Barclay said: "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. It's up to the coaches - all I can do is try and prove I'm the best in my position."
Barclay was withdrawn from club service by Robinson with the World Cup in mind and the 24-year-old feels refreshed and ready to return to battle.
He said: "I feel like I've got stronger, fitter, faster - all the goals you're looking for. 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."
Prior to the Ireland Test on August 6, Barclay had featured in 15 straight matches for Scotland and in 17 of Robinson's 18 fixtures in charge since autumn 2009.
While Barclay appears the number one choice at openside flanker, he is taking nothing for granted, with Ross Rennie having made his case in his first Scotland start against Ireland.
Barclay added: "He's a quality player and it's good to have someone to put pressure on. We push each other forward."