Mac gets his chance to take on Ar­gen­tini­ans

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - DAVID KELSO

ALAN MACDON­ALD says mak­ing his Scot­land de­but against Ar­gentina on Satur­day in the same line-up as his old­est and dear­est friend will make the Mur­ray­field fix­ture ex­tra spe­cial.

Flanker MacDon­ald en­ters the big stage as the Scots bid for a rare Au­tumn se­ries clean sweep and his maiden ap­pear­ance co­in­cides with the re­turn of chum Ben Cairns in mid­field.

MacDon­ald said: “Ben and I have been play­ing to­gether since the days we were in the minis team at Corstorphine in Ed­in­burgh.

“We then moved up the lad­der and worked our way up to the Ed­in­burgh pro team.

“It is tremendous that he has been re­called at the same time I am earn­ing my first cap. It will be an amaz­ing day.”

MacDon­ald added: “It was a great mo­ment when coach Andy Robin­son gave me the news that I was in the side.

“It is good to be com­ing into a winning team but what the guys have achieved is his­tory new. All the fo­cus is on this sin­gle game against Ar­gentina.

“I felt I had per­for med pretty well for the A-team on Fri­day and I have been champ­ing at the bit to get my chance.

“I have been ask­ing Andy time and again what I could do to im­prove my per­for­mance - and I have been run­ning about like a mad­man at train­ing.”

Cairns, mean­while, in­sisted he is ready to set­tle a few scores when against the Pu­mas.

He is des­per­ate to make up for lost time when he missed the tri­umphs over Fiji and Aus­tralia, he is de­ter mined to im­prove his per­sonal for­tunes against the South Amer­i­cans.

Cair ns re­places Glasgow ri­val Graeme Mor­ri­son for the show­down, and he ad­mit­ted he will be in­spired by what he re­garded as a stolen try by him.

He ex­plained: “My first two caps were against Ar­gentina dur­ing last year’s tour there.

“It all went wrong right away when we lost the first Test, but then we made amends by winning the sec­ond en­counter.

“That makes it 1-1 in my own duel with the Pu­mas, so I re­ally want to take the lead.”

Cair ns jested about the Glasgow con­spir­acy that de­nied him a touch­down the last time the teams met.

He chuck­led: “Dan Parks made the in­ter­cep­tion and the easy way to the line was for him to pass to me.

“But in­stead, he ig­nored me and chucked the ball to his War­riors col­league for the score!”

Cairns con­fessed to his sur­prise at be­ing pro­moted from the A-squad in the wake of the se­nior side’s stun­ning suc­cess against the Aussies.

He said: “When you are in the lower squad your aim is al­ways to go out and put up your hand – and I felt I did that on Fri­day when we beat Tonga at Netherdale.

“But af­ter the mas­sive de­fen­sive ef­fort at Mur­ray­field the next day, I wasn’t re­ally ex­pect­ing any­thing to hap­pen in terms of se­lec­tion.”

Cairns has vowed to ded­i­cate any win to the Ed­in­burgh med­i­cal staff who have helped him re­cover from knee dam­age.

He said: “It was very frus­trat­ing to suf­fer a twist in the build up to the se­ries and when it hap­pened I feared I would be side­lined for all three fix­tures.

“How­ever I have to thank the re­hab guys for get­ting me back as quickly as they did.”

Cairns said: “I wasn’t there last week – I was re­cov­er­ing from the A-game and watch­ing the TV with my girl­friend.

“It came over strongly on the trans­mis­sion that the at­mos­phere was amaz­ing and there is no doubt that the pun­ters were driv­ing the team for­ward.” – Sapa-AFP

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