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Kellock putting Barbarians first

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Alastair Kellock, right, will put captaining the Barbarians ahead of pushing for a Scotland recall against Australia at Twickenham this weekend

Alastair Kellock, right, will put captaining the Barbarians ahead of pushing for a Scotland recall against Australia at Twickenham this weekend

Alastair Kellock, right, will put captaining the Barbarians ahead of pushing for a Scotland recall against Australia at Twickenham this weekend

Alastair Kellock has refused to "muddy the waters" of captaining the Barbarians by hankering for a Scotland recall.

The Glasgow lock admitted his Scotland exclusion "had been coming", but vowed never to retire from international rugby and instead keep pushing for a return to Vern Cotter's squad.

Former Scotland skipper Kellock was overlooked by head coach Cotter for the autumn Test series, so will now lead the Barbarians against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

The 33-year-old is determined not to disrespect the Barbarians' history and tradition by focusing on personal gain in London this weekend.

"To be honest my last game was last autumn against Japan," said Kellock, who has won 56 caps for Scotland.

"I missed the Six Nations through injury and then didn't go on tour.

"So it's been coming.

"My big thing is, I'm not going to give it up, I'm going to train and play as hard as I possibly can. And if the opportunity ever arises again I'll grab it with both hands.

"This is a great opportunity to show I can still play at the top level, and I'm looking forward to it.

"It is a great chance to play, but you just cannot concentrate too much on things like your own international situation.

"Do that and it would definitely muddy the waters of what is a huge honour, to play for and captain the Barbarians."

He added: "The Barbarians is incredibly special, and the boys from the southern hemisphere view it exactly the same way. They said it's the second jersey any top player covets in the southern hemisphere.

"We've talked a lot about the history and tradition, and we'll do more of that.

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"I grew up watching these games: they are special enough to watch, so to play in will be an extremely high honour.

"You look through the quality over the years and nothing could bring home your sense of responsibility more than that."

Australia arrive at Twickenham still raw from coach Ewen McKenzie's resignation, but Kellock remains wary of the Wallabies' power.

While former Edinburgh lock Kellock may have accepted his Scotland omission, he knows full well several Barbarians colleagues have a serious point to prove.

Colin Slade and Steven Luatua missed out on the All Blacks' northern hemisphere tour, but remain on standby should New Zealand pick up any injuries.

Kellock has shared a room with free-running loose-forward Luatua this week, seeing at first hand the 23-year-old's desire to press his All Blacks claims.

"I was very much aware of how well all Scotland's locks have been playing," said Kellock.

"There's an abundance of second rows in Scotland, you look at the fact that big Jim Hamilton missed out, although he's back in now, that just shows the strength in depth.

"It's never getting handed away, but all I can do is play and train as well as I can.

"I've not managed to play enough rugby this season to put down a real marker.

"I'm rooming with Steven Luatua, and he's a prime example of a guy who's just on the cusp of that All Blacks squad.

"He'll be looking to go out and prove that he should have been on that tour. And that's great.

"There are all sorts of motivations, and it's up to us to bring them all together now, for the chief aim of beating Australia.

"The Wallabies have had a tough time of it, but they'll come out fighting: we've got to be switched on."


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