Barclay set to be targeted
Scotland flanker John Barclay isn't fazed by all the attention and knows he'll be targeted by the French in their opening game.
By Leigh Hinton
Last Updated: 05/02/11 8:43pm
Scotland flanker John Barclay isn't fazed after being highlighted as one of the potential players of the tournament in the RBS Six Nations and knows he faces being targeted.
Pundits across the game have been praising the 24-year-old Glasgow star after making his debut in 2006. His performances in the recent autumn internationals in which the Scots beat the world champions South Africa, confirmed his status as one of the best back rowers in Europe.
"It's flattering, but I try not to read too much into it," said Barclay.
"I know how fickle these sorts of things can be. As a player you don't look too much into that."
Barclay knows that with the extra attention he has received off the field, comes more attention on it.
"It will maybe make my job slightly harder if teams are going to put slightly more emphasis on that (focussing on him)," he said.
"But if they're going to put more emphasis on one thing it's going to be missing somewhere else."
Barclay, who has scored two tries in his 22 Tests was, said that while it was pleasant to read nice things about himself.
Some have mentioned him as a potential captain of the Lions in 2013, but he knows how soon things can change.
"I'll approach every game the same and it's about me doing what I can do, regardless of what's been said or what people are writing about," he added
Scotland face the current champions France in Paris on Saturday in their opening fixture of this season's championship and Barclay feels the squad is in a good place.
They haven't won their opening match in the Six Nations since 2006 - when they beat France at Murrayfield - and Scotland will have to overcome that poor run and record their first victory in Paris since 1999 if they are to be considered serious contenders.
"We're confident in what we're doing. There's a very good feeling in the squad and we fully believe in ourselves," he said.
"It's going to be hugely physical and something the Scottish guys are relishing."
Both teams will have memories of poor performances in recent times. Scotland suffered at the hands of New Zealand 49-3, whilst the French were just as poor in their 59-16 loss to Australia.
"But we also know that if we don't play to our potential, things like the result against New Zealand will happen," said Barclay.
"I wouldn't look too far beyond the first game, but we're certainly confident."