Touring Scots Aim Sky-High

With the constant cacophony of aircraft departing as a backdrop, Scotland's touring squad to Argentina came through their first training session in Buenos Aires today without mishap. The 30-man squad, preparing for Saturday's first Test against the Pumas in Rosario, trained at the GEBA club, next to the domestic airport and put in a sharp 90 minute session.

With the constant cacophony of aircraft departing as a backdrop, Scotland's touring squad to Argentina came through their first training session in Buenos Aires today without mishap.

The 30-man squad, preparing for Saturday's first Test against the Pumas in Rosario, trained at the GEBA club, next to the domestic airport and put in a sharp 90 minute session.

The club was a hive of activity as it was also to host a Pumas team;the Argentine women's hockey squad.

When the Scotland squad arrived yesterday even the passport control officials asked if revenge was on the players' minds following Argentina's victory on the last occasion the teams had met - the Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Paris last autumn.

At a media conference for Argentine journalists today Scotland captain Mike Blair noted that Saturday's match would be their first home appearance since the World Cup, where the Pumas finished in third place.

He said: "Argentina will be very proud to be running out in front of their home support and I understand it's likely to be a capacity crowd in excess of 40,000 at Rosario. We know that crowds here are more like football crowds. They're partisan and noisy and that can lead to an intimidating atmosphere so it's important we start the game well."

Scotland coach Frank Hadden stressed that though there were similarities between Scotland and Argentina - both had personnel playing outside their own country - that it was a different rugby culture here.

We're very respectful of the status of Argentine rugby. We've never beaten Argentina at under-19 and under-21 level and it's vital for us when we play a side of the quality of Argentina that we do everything well,_x001D_ he explained.

Both Hadden and Blair have made previous rugby trips to Argentina, Blair with the Edinburgh Academy school side in 1996.

He recalled: _x001C_Argentine rugby at that time was not that well known overseas but the quality of the rugby was better than we'd expected. We played two tournaments plus four local school teams none of whom we beat._x001D_

Victory is the target this weekend, however, with IRB world ranking points a prize that Scotland yearn.

Scotland will train in Buenos Aires tomorrow (Tuesday) as preparations intensify ahead of Thursday's team announcement.