Barclay hoping for better weather in Sydney

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

There are only two things that stick out for Scotland captain John Barclay about his side’s last visit to Australia.

A grinding win and the cold, which says a lot about the conditions that pervaded in 2012, when the Wallabies and Scotland played out a dour match amid a once-in-a-century storm.

To put that into context, many Scottish fixtures are played in the deep north winter, where average maximum temperatures hover around five degrees Celsius.

“I just remember being very cold,” he recalled on Friday.

“I don’t think it was a fantastic game and definitely not one for the spectators.

“I think a few of the guys had hypothermia after wards and stuff, so it was pretty cold.

“I think those games you remember the outcome more than the game, especially it wasn’t the most fantastic game.

“It was good fun, certainly a memorable game and I hope conditions will be different tomorrow.”

Though the forecast is gloomy for Saturday, it’s far from the torrential downpour and winds that came across Newcastle that day.

Barclay’s Australian counterpart Michael Hooper made his debut off the bench in that match, now the epicentre of a new look back row structure.

Michael Hooper made his Wallabies debut that night. Photo: Getty ImagesWith David Pocock on sabbatical, Australia will field the more traditional structure of Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper and Scott Higginbotham for the second week in a row against Scotland.

That, though, won’t change too much for Barclay, with Scotland’s own back row a growing threat.

“They always produce good backrowers,” he said.

“People said when Pocock left, people were worried but they got guys come through.

“I think you guys have got a conveyor belt of talent, the number of guys that play rugby here.”

Scotland has their own emerging backrow, with openside flanker Hamish Watson, who returns from injury for the clash, a player who has earned comparisons with Hooper in his size and speed.

Watson earned his first Test start against the Wallabies in November last year, and has been locked in a serious battle with John Hardie for the number seven jersey.

“It’s a challenge but our back row, someone like Hamish was probably relatively unknown globally - people knew about him in Scotland, but the Six Nations he was one of the players in the tournament I felt.”

The Wallabies host Scotland on Saturday, kicking off at 3pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.