Their first public outing having been a letdown when they failed to score in losing heavily to Ulster, Tony Gilbert took his Borders players for a private trip to the Wallace Monument near St Boswells ahead of Wednesday's encouraging win over Newcastle.

For many - and not just the Samoan and Kiwi recruits - it was not so much a case of their coach reminding them of the traditions they represent but about discovering them. The former All Blacks forwards coach had clearly done his homework as he put his message across with relevant asides on the likes of the role played by the Armstrong and Graham clans in defending local honour, given the inspirational example the two oldest members of their squad, Gary Armstrong and George Graham, have set in pre-season training.

''To be honest,'' admitted one Borderer who was there, ''it was slightly embarrassing that having been here for just a few months he knew so much more about our heritage than we do.''

It is, of course, common enough for visitors to know more about places than residents so while the plan in introducing so many antipodeans to Scottish rugby was that they would bring much of their culture, perhaps an additional benefit will be that they will help Scottish players to appreciate their own.

At Glasgow, their new coaches, Kiwi Searancke and Steve Anderson, would do well to try to tap into the strength of feeling Glaswegians have for their city in seeking to give an already close-knit squad still greater purpose.

Likewise at Edinburgh, Todd Blackadder will let his players know what is required concisely and clearly. Ahead of what promises to be a major challenge against Sale at Meadowbank tonight, then, there may be no team outing to Edinburgh Castle, but the new captain will look to remind his men of what is important which, as he said yesterday is that ''You have got to do it for your mates.''

Doubtless Wallace would have approved, even if that does mean piling into some old friends who include Bryan Redpath, Scotland's captain who did such an exceptional job in leading Sale to their first major triumph in last season's European Shield.

Sadly the condition of another of Sale's Scottish internationals is causing concern since Iain Fullarton could miss much of the season with a hip injury, but Barry Stewart, rebuilding his career after being released by Edinburgh because of serious neck trouble, also returns to face former team-mates. Hopefully, as happened when Armstrong and Doddie Weir met their former Newcastle team-mates on Wednesday, that will merely add extra meaning to the occasion.

With the likes of the outrageously gifted Jason Robinson and Charlie Hodgson - the young play-maker who may yet achieve the unthinkable and challenge Jonny Wilkinson for England's No.10 jersey - also in Sale's ranks, a real pointer to this new-look Edinburgh side's potential should be offered.

On the subject of competition for established No.10s, Chris Paterson's overdue run at stand- off during last weekend's win over Rotherham was no one-off and he is set for another chance there tonight.

Blackadder believes Edinburgh to be as good, in terms of personnel, as any side they will face this season. That is understandable as he looks around a dressing room containing the likes of Paterson and Simon Taylor, a newcomer of the calibre of Scott Murray and a youngster of the promise of Mike Blair.

He knows tonight's result means nothing in its own right, but wants to see a performance which demonstrates that his team-mates understand their responsibilities. The same must apply across the country, where there has understandably been a sense of injustice as the famous names have rolled into the Borders and Edinburgh camps.

In their short existence Glasgow have established a tradition for exciting, if less than consistent rugby and have created something of a new rugby watching culture in their area.

After last Friday's poor showing against Harlequins they can rebuild not only their own confidence against lesser English opposition in Exeter tonight but that of their loyal supporters who turned out in what were, considering the way their form tailed away last season, surprisingly large numbers for that first pre-season friendly.

Edinburgh squad to meet Sale at Meadowbank (ko 7.30pm)

Backs M Blair, M Di Rollo, A Dickson,

D Hodge, C Joiner, B Laney, D Lee,

C Paterson, T Philip, C Sharman, G Shiel, S Webster, R Lawson (Heriot's)

Forwards T Blackadder, J Brannigan,

A Dall, C Di Ciacca, D Hall, A Hogg,

A Jacobsen, A Kellock, M Leslie,

S Murray, G Perrett, C Smith, S Taylor,

G Whittingham, D Callam (Hawick)

Glasgow team to meet Exeter at Hughenden (ko 7.30pm)

S Moffat; J Steel, I McInroy,

A Henderson, R Kerr; T Hayes,

G Beveridge; D Hilton,

G Bulloch, L Harrison, S Griffiths,

J White, J Petrie, D Macfadyen,

G Simpson. Replacements: G Scott,

C Blades, A Hall, A Wilson, B Daly,

A Kelly, N Ross, A Nicol, C Howarth,

A Bulloch