Scotland coach Frank Hadden has told his squad there is no room for relaxation as the build-up for the 2007 World Cup begins to gain momentum.
With only 11 matches over as many months to go until the competition kicks off, Hadden is determined to build on the solid foundations laid last year, during which time Scotland managed their best Six Nations finish to date.
Scotland’s first training camp of the current season was held at Murrayfield on Monday and Tuesday of this week, with the squad concentrating on getting everyone onto the same wavelength – before the task of preparing for the first game of the autumn Test series begins in earnest next week.
"It’s been an excellent couple of days," declared Hadden.
"These sessions have been about reminding the players of what we are trying to do and I’m pleased with the way that has gone.
"Given that it has been such a long time since we’ve been in touch, and that so much has happened in the interim, it has gone more smoothly than I expected.
"You always have an idea of where you want to be at any particular time, but you’re never quite sure if you’re going to be there, however I’m not uncomfortable with where we are right now and I have a very clear picture of where we need to go and how we’re going to get there.
"We have to create the right intensity from the very first minute of the very first training session. Instead of just reacting to what the opposition do, we have to get better at imposing our own game-plan on the opposition and playing the game at the intensity we want to play at."
Scotland play three Test matches during November, against Romania, the Pacific Islands and Australia. While the latter two matches will bring some of the most exciting players in world rugby to Murrayfield, Hadden poured scorn on the idea that the Romania game does not carry the same sort of lustre.
"All these games have exciting elements to them and we just really hope that the public will get behind us and show the players how much it means to them," he said.
"We know that with the World Cup coming up we have to raise the intensity, so we’ll be expecting improvements in many aspects of our game in the first match against Romania, never mind in the subsequent games.
"We need to set the standard right from the very first game."