Mac gets his chance to take on Argentinians
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