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Page last updated at 13:35 GMT, Friday, 11 June 2010 14:35 UK

Tough test in store for Scots against Pumas

ARGENTINA v SCOTLAND
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

Argentina's Felipe Contepomi
Argentina captain Felipe Contepomi will face the Scots once again

By Keir Murray

When Scotland take to the field at the Estadio Monumental Jose Fierro on Saturday to play Argentina they will surely be trying to build on the spirit and drama of their Six Nations win over Ireland in March.

Dan Parks' last-minute penalty at Croke Park, which denied the hosts the Triple Crown, gave coach Andy Robinson something tangible from a campaign in which the Scots showed glimpses of being a credible force in the game again.

The pain of defeats by France, Wales and Italy had been partially salved by a Murrayfield draw against England: that 23-20 win over the Irish gave Scotland renewed hope and was a feather in Robinson's cap.

The stuttering display against a Japan Select at Murrayfield in the final warm-up game before the two-match tour against the Pumas will have doubts floating around the players' heads.

But Robinson will have used the time spent together as a team on flights, in hotels and on the training ground to focus the players' minds on the improvements that have been made in the past year, and to the task in hand.

I hear the locals like to hurl the oranges at visiting teams during the game

BBC Scotland's Jim Mason in Argentina

Scotland have beaten Argentina only twice in 10 meetings.

The Pumas have won the other eight clashes and are tough to beat in Tucuman, the venue for the first test. Scotland will be the underdogs and will have to be at their best to quell a physical Argentina side in front of 32,000 passionate fans.

BBC Scotland's Jim Mason joined the squad on their two-hour flight north-west from Buenos Aires and describes Tucuman as "a rugby town, Argentina's equivalent of the Borders".

He said: "The main town square is lovely, with orange trees dotted around it.

"The only problem is, I hear the locals like to hurl the oranges at visiting teams during the game.

"The Argentina football team play Nigeria in the World Cup on the morning of the Pumas' match against Scotland - it could be some day here."

Robinson has a deeper pool from which to select his team these days, but he has gone for continuity, with only two changes from the team that beat Ireland - Rory Lawson and Moray Low in for Chris Cusiter and Euan Murray.

And five players in the Scotland line-up for Saturday have experience of beating Argentina in their own patch - Hugo Southwell, Graeme Morrison, Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford and John Barclay started in the second Test win in Buenos Aires in 2008, a tour in which Scotland lost the opening match in Rosario.

Further, Nick De Luca, Dan Parks, Rory Lawson, captain Al Kellock and Kelly Brown are in the starting 15 and were substitutes in that 26-14 win in the capital.

The belief that that should spread throughout the Scotland camp has to be tempered by the 9-6 defeat the South Americans' A side inflicted on the Scots' equivalent in Edinburgh last November.

And who knows what impact the results of this tour will have when the teams contest another match at next year's World Cup in New Zealand?

After a punishing season, the players are being asked to produce two more top-notch displays before enjoying a summer break.

For some, their chances of being capped in the autumn Tests against the All Blacks, South Africa and Samoa depend on it.



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see also
Lawson earns start for Scotland
10 Jun 10 |  Scottish
John Barclay's view
08 Jun 10 |  Scottish
Recalled duo start for Argentina
09 Jun 10 |  Scottish
Cusiter set to miss out for Scots
07 Jun 10 |  Scottish
Scotland have a splash in Argentina
07 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
Robinson eyes double over Pumas
04 Jun 10 |  Scottish
Thompson named in Scotland squad
12 May 10 |  Scottish
Scotland XV 24-5 Japan Select
01 Jun 10 |  Scottish


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