Rugby World headed north into Warrior territory to catch up with John ‘JB’ Barclay to chat about getting lost all the time, his pre-match routine, and having a short attention span when it comes to learning to play the guitar.
RUGBY WORLD: Who are the jokers in the Glasgow and Scotland squads?
JOHN BARCLAY: Let’s think, the jokers at Glasgow… probably Johnnie Beattie and myself. We maybe joke around when we shouldn’t, but we try to keep it semi-serious most of the time. With Scotland, Mike Blair. He’s not a prankster but he likes winding people up. He does it a lot behind the scenes.
RW: Do you have a pre-match routine? Any superstitions?
JB: I always go for a coffee and a crossword with Graeme Morrison. Most of our games kick off at 7.30pm so there’s tons of time to kill. I also put my left boot on first, but I think that’s more out of habit than superstition.
RW: So do you always manage to finish the crossword?
JB: For this, I’ll say yes! There are quite a few guys who enjoy a crossword at Glasgow. We just do ones in the papers.
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on the pitch?
JB: In one Glasgow game against Munster when Ally Kellock was captain, he and Ronan O’Gara got into a scuffle and the referee called them both over. “You’re both well-known players,” he said. “Try to calm down.” O’Gara then interrupted and said, “Hang on, I don’t know who this joker is.” I’m not sure Al felt too good for a while after that.
RW: What are your bugbears?
JB: Bad directions – and getting lost in general. My girlfriend is very laid-back and we tend to get lost on a pretty regular basis. That’s frustrating. The worst place I’ve got lost is France, but that’s when I was a kid with my family.
Will Ferrell, Stupid purchases, and Life outside rugby…
RW: Do you have any phobias?
JB: I hate spiders, anything that creeps around on the floor. I’m too scared to ever kill a spider and I can’t pick them up if they’re not dead – it creeps me out.
RW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
JB: It would have to be to fly.
RW: Who would you like to be trapped in a lift with?
JB: Probably Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughan, Owen Wilson – those sorts of people. They’d keep you entertained.
RW: What couldn’t you live without?
JB: TV! I watch it a lot. I like the cooking channel on Sky. I watch that quite a bit.
RW: If a film was made of your life, who would play you?
JB: Will Ferrell. He’s a funny man. I’m not, but he can add it to my personality!
RW: If your house was on fire, what three things would you save?
JB: My first cap, I’ve got my first strip framed with it as well. I’ve just got a black Labrador called Inca so I’ll save the dog, too. And my computer because it’s got all my photos on it, everything from holidays and school.
RW: What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever bought?
JB: Probably my TV. I’ve got a 42in, £1,000 TV, which was about my monthly salary when I bought it. I’ve still got it, but the same TVs are now about £400 so I should have just waited.
RW: Who’s your ideal woman?
JB: Apart from my girlfriend, Megan Fox.
RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
JB: I’d like to get good at the guitar. I’ve had it for about two years but tend to pick it up for a couple of months, stop, then pick it up for another couple of months. So I’m always in the same place and then give up. I get frustrated because I’m not absolutely amazing.
RW: How would you like to be remembered?
JB: Probably as someone who would laugh at anything.
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