Three-times British Lions coach Ian McGeechan dealt with a new challenge on his first day at his new job yesterday when he and coaching partner Jim Telfer teamed up to end the pay dispute that has interfered with Scotland's World Cup planning.

Following days of wrangling between lawyers, both sides declared themselves satsified after the players met face to face with Telfer and McGeechan, who is backing up the World Cup coaches before taking over as head coach after the tournament, and had just started work as an SRU employee.

SRU spokesman Graham Law said: ''The dispute is over. It was eventualy resolved with the players sitting down with the two best coaches in world rugby.''

Admitting that matters of principle had been involved, he said it would be wrong to talk in terms of an improved offer on what was put to the players on Tuesday, but that they had sought and received ''certain assurances''.

Gary Armstrong, who captained Scotland to Five Nations Championship glory this year and on their recent tour of South Africa, emerged from the meeting voicing his relief.

''It's a thing that should never have happened, but it's something that's been done. I'm pleased it's all been resolved and everyone can concentrate on the World Cup,'' he said.

''It got blown out of proportion when it was reported that we hadn't trained last week, but everyone's now quite happy, the SRU and the players.''

It is understood that of particular concern to the players, having received a one-off bonus payment after their Five Nations win, was that flexibility still existed within new agreements for similar bonuses in the future.

The resolution did not arrive in time to save yesterday's squad session from going the way of last week's get-together, which was wrecked when the exiles effectively took strike action by meeting with their lawyer.

Yesterday's was originally scheduled for a 3pm start, then was put back by an hour as the exiles consulted with their lawyer elsewhere in the capital.

Armstrong's arrival alone at Murrayfield shortly before 4pm was quickly followed by officials emerging to say the exiles had asked for a meeting with the coaches, although the captain played down his involvement.

''I was in a funny position, caught in the middle, so I felt I had to come and train regardless of what was going on,'' he explained. ''It was a very constructive meeting. They understand us better and we understand them.''

While those discussions took place, the home-based players were told to go home, but Armstrong said there was never any danger of relationships being damaged within the camp.

''Scotland's a small place. We have to be pulling in the same direction. We can't have any sort of split,'' he noted.

Since he immediately headed into a management meeting to reschedule Scotland's training plans, Telfer was unavailable for comment. However, spokesman Graham Law said: ''Jim was very impressed with the players who were very positive and spoke about their desire to play for Scotland.''

That the players are eager to create the right impression ahead of today's Scotland A team announcement for Tuesday's meeting with Argentina, was underlined when a number of exiles stayed on for extra training.

Meanwhile, the Argentinians, who also meet Scotland in a full Test next Saturday, have signi-ficant problems of their own.

Captain Pedro Sporlieder, along with hooker Mario Ledesma, failed to arrive with the rest of the squad yesterday.

Pumas coach and former All Black Alex Wyllie explained: ''Both players had a discussion with a referee in a club match that didn't go down too well.''

As a result of a disciplinary hearing, the two may now miss the World Cup.

qBOTH Scotland's superteams won their latest tour matches in Canada in convincing fashion.

Edinburgh Reivers defeated Ontario 65-3, while Glasgow Caley thrashed Uruguay A 68-8. The two Scots teams will now meet each other tomorrow.