MORE than a few Scotland supporters will experience mixed emotions when they see Emiliano Boffelli running out with the Argentina team at BT Murrayfield on Saturday. Edinburgh fans in particular may feel that a part of them is supporting the left-winger given how well he has performed since joining the capital club last year, but many followers of the national team, too, have a soft spot for him after his 25-point haul in the Pumas’ 30-29 victory over England earlier this month.

Boffelli also played in last week’s narrow defeat by Wales, and holds on to the No 11 jersey in a starting line-up that shows four changes from that 20-13 loss in Cardiff.

After announcing his team yesterday, Argentina coach Michael Cheika explained he had been impressed by the 27-year-old’s improved consistency, and credited Mike Blair and his Edinburgh coaching team with playing their part in getting the best out of the man known to his team-mates as King Boff.

“I think he’s really flourished playing up here,” Cheika said. “He’s enjoyed the environment that he’s playing in, and that’s a credit to his coaches in Edinburgh. And he’s been very consistent with how he’s been the whole trip since we came together in July. He’s improved his game a lot.

“I’m conscious of not giving him too big a head before the weekend, so I’m not going to give him too many raps, because he’s getting lots of air time. Concentration is the key and I think that’s been a huge improvement in his game - he’s been able to focus on the game at hand.

“He’s been able to eliminate distractions that can affect players at this level, and thus his performances have improved as well. He’s a good guy to coach, there’s no doubt about it.

“I think the important thing for him is just to stay consistent this week and not let those distractions [affect him]. It’s a bit odd, because you’re playing with your national team at a place you call home for the moment. So just focusing on the game when it comes.”

Of the four alterations made to the 15 by Cheika, two are in the pack and two in the backs. In the front row, Julian Montoya takes over at hooker and as captain from Agustin Creevy, while Eduardo Bello is at tighthead prop instead of Francisco Gomez Kodela. Bautista Delguy is on the right wing in place of Mateo Carreras, and Orlando is at outside centre, replacing Matias Moroni.

This will be the last international of the year for both teams, but Cheika believes his squad are in a good state of repair, and does not see himself needing to coax one last effort out of them. “I don’t think it’s a last push at all,” he said.

“The boys are playing in the middle of their season, most of them. We’ve obviously got a different calendar because our players play northern-hemisphere club rugby and then in the southern-hemisphere international programme, but I feel like we’re managing that well in the way we’ve prepared our training. The guys are full of energy.

“I don’t see it like a final push. This is a big part of our season and then they’ll move on to different parts of their own season afterwards. If anything, I feel there’s been an increase in intensity this week.”

His players may have no real excuse for tiredness, but Cheika certainly does, having doubled up recently as Lebanon’s head coach at the rugby league World Cup. Yet far from feeling fatigued by the experience, he is convinced he has benefited from it.

“I’ll be honest, I’ve totally loved it,” Cheika added. “It was an experience I’d never thought I could have, to be involved with both at the same time.

“It was a great experience for me professionally, to learn new things. It was high intensity and it taught me to get better prepared, going forward.”