Does one's cup runneth over on Scottish Cup weekend? ''Basically, we know there are about to be 200 rugby players in France walking around with no jobs at the end of the season.'' That's what Steve Begley told me.

Begley, a Scot who played club rugby in Glasgow, as well as Capetown and London, now packs down behind Tom Smith for the Brive club in France and, as they are fighting relegation along with six other clubs, the players know that second division rugby means no real pay.

And that, my friends, is pressure to think about as you chomp your croissants.

It is the kind of pressure the Super Teams might not have, although, to be fair, neither do the Southern Hemisphere Super 12 teams.

However, it's worth considering the differences between the Scottish and French systems.

Here we are on a cup day, as six teams go through to Murrayfield for their big day out. Here's what Begley says of the French cup: ''At Brive we put our second fifteen in the cup because there wasn't a tangible benefit to it.

''There is no prize money, and European places aren't handed out on the basis of Cup results. Most clubs over here ignore the cup. The league is what it's all about.''

In Scotland the cup provides the venue for an end-of-season party and a cash reward.

The French club game is the be-all and end-all, there is no other level between it and the French team itself. Begley is 6ft 4 and nearly 18 stones, he is a powerful second row man and after moving to Lyon in the French third division when he was one of the players cut as Glasgow reduced their squad, he was then approached by second division Strasbourg before going onward and upward to Brive.

''There is huge pressure here, our whole livelihoods are at stake, and we have to accept that many of our fans are small businessmen and the more we win the more we help to support them with incomers and spectators spending money with them. If we lose it's not so good,'' he says.

''If you win a game you can go out at night, if you lose then you daren't as, quite rightly, the fans look at you sideways. Here they've been used to success and think they should be winning European cups, so to be in the relegation zone isn't very funny.''

If the Super Teams miss one aspect of life it is the pressure of knowing that if you lose, or go down a division, you could lose your jobs, the whole lot of you as a squad.

Begley has a flat, a house and a car all provided by the club, and his girlfriend from Glasgow, Kirsty, stays with him in what must be an enviable lifestyle.

''It's a big flat and everything's paid for,'' says Begley. He is a full-time player, but as Brive are owned by the owner of Servisair, each player has to study for twelve-and-a-half hours a week and work for the company.

If Begley wanted it, a placement in Glasgow could be arranged on holidays from rugby as players are supposed to work then if they can.

But it gets tougher to keep control on reality when you learn that 30 fans watch every training session, and there are two sessions a day.

Hundreds turn out on the Wednesday to watch as they take on the second fifteen, which is made up of students and players from the academy. It all, of course, could come crashing down if Brive are relegated.

But he has achieved the targets he set at the start of the season. ''I wanted to make half the games, and I have started 60 per cent and played in all the league games,'' he says of a hard campaign that saw Montferrand come to Brive last week and, in front of 12,000 fans, beat Brive severely.

Begley says: ''Tom Smith is well respected here by the club and the fans. It's great to see him in the Lions party.''

So, as we sit here in Scotland on cup finals day, does he feel like the forgotten man of Scottish rugby, a hard second row who is holding his own in the tough world of French club rugby but ignored, just another modern day rugby mercenary?

''Not really,'' he says resignedly. ''I would like to make an A team game, but I just have to accept that selection is one person's opinion.''

He might yet come back to Scotland.

''I haven't ruled it out, especially with the third team that's being talked about. I am just 26, and having made my targets for this year it would be good to do that, despite being very happy in France.''