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Page last updated at 10:13 GMT, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 11:13 UK

John Barclay's view

ARGENTINA v SCOTLAND
Venue: Mar del Plata Date: Saturday, 19 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

Argentina v Scotland
Argentina will be out to stop Scotland claiming the series on Saturday

Tucuman. What a place! We arrived on Thursday before the game, after a two hour flight from Buenos Aires.

From the off, everything was different; the police escort into town were on dirt bikes with the drivers of these bikes carrying shotguns and cartridge belts strapped on.

Some of the cartridges were missing.

We'd seen a lot of poverty in Buenos Aires, but Tucuman was even poorer. We were told the average GDP was only $5000.

Enough of the statistics though.

I was always told not to judge a book by it's cover and this slightly cliched expression could not be more apt for this wonderful part of Argentina.

The people in Tucuman were fantastic and everyone went out of their way to be friendly.

They don't see a lot of visiting international rugby teams here so we were ideal photographic material for the fanatical locals.

On the way over, I spoke to a guy on the plane and he told me that Tucuman lives and breathes rugby. If you don't play rugby in this town, you're nobody.

So the scene was set for our first match of the tour.

We trained at the stadium on Friday doing just a light captain's run. Let's just say that it wasn't exactly new-build. There was barbed wire around it and a few of the guys found mushrooms growing on the pitch

We trained at the stadium on Friday doing just a light captain's run. Let's just say that it wasn't exactly a new-build.

There was barbed wire around it and a few of the guys found mushrooms growing on the pitch, different to say the least. Despite this, I'm not lying when I say I enjoyed the experience.

On Saturday morning leading up to our game Argentina played Nigeria in the football World Cup.

On our team walk in the morning, the streets were deserted as everyone settled down to watch them play.

Even the town's homeless found the nearest electrical store and set up camp on the street.

The noise when Argentina scored could be heard from my hotel room. This certainly set the scene for what we had been told to expect for our game.

Arriving at the ground was surreal as we were met by riot police.

In terms of the atmosphere, we had prepared for chaos even going as far as to watch clips from previous Test matches played at the ground.

With that in mind, the crowd seemed to be on their best behaviour and there wasn't a hint of anything untoward from them. Passionate, yes.

We went down early on in the game. We had the ball, we lost the ball and they finished well.

We didn't panic though and the message under the posts was: "Let's start again."

The defence, on the whole, was comfortable throughout and our shape was as good as I've ever seen it.

John Barclay
Barclay was part of the Scotland side that beat Argentina in Tucaman

Everyone played their part in what was a great day for us.

Special mention and praise is reserved for the front row; Moray, Chunk and Fordy didn't give an inch all day and this set the platform for the rest of the match.

At the end we did a warm down which turned into a small lap of honour and it was great to see a small knot of Scottish fans in the crowd.

It's not cheap to fly over here and it means a lot to the team to have them there.

As is customary after a Test, we went to a post-match dinner with the Argentine boys. Steak was on the menu.

There was also some eclectic entertainment in the form of an opera quartet singing Frank Sinatra covers. I'll leave you to imagine what they sounded like.

The following morning it was back to Buenos Aires. It's our base, so it's good to get back and it is strangely starting to feel like home.

Unfortunately, I was a bag lighter though as it mysteriously disappeared at Tucuman airport.

Whoever has it, I hope they are enjoying the contents.

Training will be light this week with some tweaking.

A word of warning though: on Saturday the Pumas will be angry.


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



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see also
Cusiter flies back from Argentina
15 Jun 10 |  Scottish
Lalanne drops out Argentina squad
15 Jun 10 |  Scottish
Townsend predicts Pumas backlash
14 Jun 10 |  Scottish
Telfer concern over Scots tries
14 Jun 10 |  Scottish
Robinson wants more from Scotland
13 Jun 10 |  Scottish
Argentina 16-24 Scotland
12 Jun 10 |  Scottish


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