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Barclay excited by Six Nations opener

Guinness PRO12 Editor

3 Feb 2011

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Glasgow Warriors flanker John Barclay, who started all ten of Scotland’s Test matches in 2010 is excited by the challenge that lies ahead for Scotland in Paris when they face Grand Slam Champions France in their opening game of the 2011 RSB 6 Nations tournament.

The 24-year-old is an ever-present feature in the national jersey and as he prepares for the Paris fixture Barclay believes Scotland should go into the game with a lot of confidence on the back of last year’s performances.

"It is an exciting place to start," Barclay told the Scotsman.

“You see the way this game is building: Scotland are going into the championship with a bit of confidence and France have been demonised by their own press for losing a game.

“But they are Grand Slam champions, the game is in France and if you break down their team they have got some great players. So it's an exciting prospect, but it's going to be a massive, massive challenge for Scotland.

"I'm a lot more confident in what I'm doing now and don't question myself so much. I feel very confident in my role and my jobs in the team, and know what I have to do well to help Scotland do well

But if they get on the front foot they are a talented bunch. (Imanol] Harinordoquy is hard to stop and it's a good blend. (Thierry] Dusatoir does a lot of the dog work and (Julien] Bonnaire is sort of in between the two. So, they have a very talented back row and very strong front five, but we're confident in our pack, in our scrum and lineout, going into the game.

"I'm looking forward to playing with Nathan (Hines] in the back row again for example. He is very comfortable at six and we're comfortable with him there. He has played there for the (British and Irish] Lions so that says a lot in itself. It's a slightly different set-up, maybe, but everyone's comfortable with it."

"I think we have played some of our best rugby away from home.

"If you look at our games last year against Wales, Ireland and in Argentina, so we're confident playing away from home.

"We have not won the first game in the championship for a long time, and this is a massive challenge, but it is one that can really kick us on for the Six Nations.”