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Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Tuesday, 8 June 2010 16:01 UK

John Barclay's view

Venue: Tucuman Date: Saturday, 12 June Kick-off: 1945 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Two Scotland, BBC Sport website, via the red button and BBC Radio Scotland

Scotland flanker John Barclay
By John Barclay
Scotland flanker

I'm sitting on the 23rd floor of the team hotel here in Buenos Aires.

This is where the rooftop pool is, surrounded by vases and awnings which make it look like a set from the TV series 'Rome'.

The view of the city is breathtaking, sprawling and endlessly high-rise. We arrived on Saturday morning after a long, long flight.

A short hop from Edinburgh to London and then Heathrow to Buenos Aires with a stop-off in Sao Paulo.

We are very lucky to be able to travel in business class as the difference it makes to you cannot be underestimated.

The squad stretched their legs in their Buenos Aires hotel's roof-top pool
The squad stretched their legs in their Buenos Aires hotel's roof-top pool

I won't have the same luxury when I go on holiday later this year.

Preparation for the tour has been going well and, despite the criticism we received for our display against the Japanese, the mood in the camp is one of excitement for the two forthcoming Tests against the Pumas.

The week before the squad got together we were put through our paces at our respective clubs, so we all came into camp in the best shape possible for this stage of the season.

It was good to get a game against the Japan Select at Murrayfield last week.

As an open-side flanker, having that hit-out was invaluable just to get the lungs going again.

No matter how hard you train it is nigh-on impossible to get the same benefits as a game provides.


From a personal point of view it was nice to pick up two tries and a bottle of champagne for man-of-the-match.

One of the great things about going on tour is the way everyone mucks in.

As well as having to play Argentina we also have additional duties to carry out.

In a leap back to an amateur club ethos, there is a rota of 'Duty Boys' who will deal with things like carrying bags and tidying up.

Whether you have 100 caps or just one, nobody is above lifting the team bags.

There were 66 team kit bags to carry, and that's before you take into account the two bags every member of the touring squad checked in.

Scotland lock Richie Gray
Despite being 6ft 8in tall, 20-year-old Gray is the baby of the Scotland squad

So, preferably, your day as Duty Boy doesn't fall on travel day.

It doesn't feel as though it's been two years since we were last here.

It's a great place to tour and most of the boys have taken the chance to stroll through the streets of Buenos Aires.

It's fun to be together for two-and-a-half weeks and we'll see plenty of the country with matches in both Tucuman and Mar Del Plata.

Yes, you might step on each other's toes occasionally but it's good to get to know the boys that little bit better.

On Sunday we did a walk-through training session. After the long flight it was good to get out and stretch the legs, get the ball in hand and practice some calls.

On the team bus coming back from the training centre the youngest man on tour, Richie Gray, had to act as tour guide as we made our way downtown.

He filled us in on some fairly useless trivia but took the heckling from the back of the bus in his stride and held his own.

Being the youngest means he has to do nonsense like this but he's a confident guy and handled it really well.

We had our first real training session on Monday and Andy Robinson will announce his starting XV on Thursday.

Then it's the first Test against Argentina on 12 June in Tucuman. The next few days will go quickly.

John Barclay was talking to BBC Scotland's Jim Mason.

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see also
Cusiter set to miss out for Scots
07 Jun 10 |  Scottish
Scotland have a splash in Argentina
07 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
Recalled duo start for Argentina
09 Jun 10 |  Scottish
Robinson eyes double over Pumas
04 Jun 10 |  Scottish
Scotland XV 24-5 Japan Select
01 Jun 10 |  Scottish

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