Johnnie Beattie excited by switch to Montpellier

Johnnie Beattie believes a new start in France is a great stage from which to challenge for a Scotland place.

The Montpellier-bound flanker is not travelling with Andy Robinson's squad for the summer tour, having missed out on last year's World Cup.

"I'm looking forward to testing myself in a different environment," Beattie told BBC Radio Scotland.

"I'm only 26 and I still have a lot that I want to achieve at club and international level."

Beattie, capped on 16 occasions, made a try-scoring debut for Scotland against Romania in 2006 but he struggled with his fitness and form since a shoulder injury sustained after an impressive Six Nations campaign in 2010.

And he was very much a fringe player as Glasgow reached the RaboDirect Pro12 play-off semi-finals this season.

"I've had eight amazing years at Glasgow but I thought the time was right for a fresh challenge," added Beattie.

"Montpellier are in the quarter-finals of the Top 14 - they are a very strong club.

"It's a really high standard and the ideal shop window for me.

"If I can thrive there, I feel Montpellier will be the perfect springboard to get back into the Scotland set-up."

Beattie will warm-up for his new career in sunnier climes by playing for the Barbarians in the tour games with England, Ireland and Wales.

"Baa-Baas rugby is something I've always aspired to from a very young age, so I'm extremely excited to be involved," he explained.

"It will be a real honour and privilege to join up with such a talented squad.

"It's been a torrid year and my game time has been limited, so it's really nice to be asked to go along and fly the flag for Scotland - along with Rory Lawson.

"It gives me a chance to get back in the international arena, which is where I aspire to be in the future."