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RUGBY: Barkley preparing for his final Rec farewell
OLLY Barkley revealed his head had to rule his heart when it came to bringing the curtain down on a 12-year association with Bath.
Barkley, 30, will play his final match for the club in tomorrow’s Aviva Premiership home clash with Sale Sharks before switching across the Channel to join French side Racing Metro.
The 23-times capped England man had his sights set on seeing the final year of his contract at the Rec in full before the option of a move to Paris emerged last week.
Barkley, who revealed he chatted to the likes of former Bath teammate Iain Balshaw, now at Biarritz, before making his decision, said: “I didn’t want this to be my last year and not complete it but I was just scared that these opportunities don’t come around very often and if I hadn’t taken it now, it might never have surfaced again.
“I had to make a decision on what was right thing to do, rather than what I wanted to do, which was a first for me.’’ He added: “I went to Paris on Sunday to visit the training ground, players and coaches and it still felt very surreal. It’s definitely something I’d thought about doing but the option and idea came out of the blue.
“It’s been an abrupt exit, if you like, which has made it quite hard emotionally. What I was fighting was my last year here and not being part of what is happening.’’
Barkley, who has been in sublime kicking form during the first month of the season, is determined to sign off in style against the Sharks.
“I’ve had an amazing time here and can’t speak fondly enough of the club, the people and the supporters.
“If you’d told me I’d play 250 games for Bath, be top points scorer and had the memories I have had, I’d have taken that every day of the week at 16 or 17.
“I’ll probably by a season ticket here, when I finish playing rugby.
“I think they will do really well here, particularly the way the coaching staff are building something.
“When everything settles in, this is going to be a really tough side to beat.’’
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