SCOTLAND will kick off their World Cup preparations when they head to a high-altitude training base in the French Pyrenees this summer.
The Dark Blues lost all five matches during this year’s RBS 6 Nations but head coach Vern Cotter hopes to breathe new life into the side after booking them into the Font Romeu camp used by world-record marathon runner Paula Radcliffe.
His squad will gather at BT Murrayfield on June 15 for three days of training before travelling across the Channel for a week-long stay in the “no frills venue” near to the border with Spain.
The Scots will then return home on June 23 and spend a further two months based at Murrayfield working on their final preparations.
Four warm-up clashes have also been organised for over the course of successive Saturdays, starting with Six Nations champions Ireland in Dublin on August 15 followed a week later by Italy in Turin.
The Azzurri then return the favour by visiting Edinburgh on August 29 before France welcome Scotland to Paris on September 5.
Cotter knows his side are under pressure following their miserable Six Nations campaign but hopes their World Cup preparations will allow Scotland to finally make their mark when the tournament is staged in England.
He said: “The RBS 6 Nations gave us an opportunity to look at our game closely.
“There’ll be no pretence from us. We’ll be looking at every aspect of our game - technical, tactical, physical, psychological - holistically what we want to achieve and where we want to go as a group.
“There will be different stages to our preparation and this [overseas camp] will start us off, get the players away together and away from a comfort zone.
“It’s a great training camp. It’s not one of the flashiest places to go to but it’s very functional and I think it’ll be good to kick it off.
“I’m looking forward to spending some time together as a group, nut a few things out, run a few scenarios, develop our game management and become better athletes.
“We’ll go through a number of phases of preparation that will come before the preparation games, which will be important for players to stake claims for the final squad.”
Scotland have been drawn in World Cup Pool B alongside South Africa, Japan, Samoa and the United States. They kick-off their campaign against Japan in Gloucester on September 23.
15-17 June: BT Murryfield
18-23 June: Font Romeu
23 June-August: Skills and conditioning at BT Murrayfield
Sat 15 Aug: Ireland (A) Dublin
Sat 22 Aug: Italy (A) Turin
Sat 29 Aug: Italy (H) BT Murrayfield
Sat 5 Sep: France (A) Paris
RWC 2015 Pool stages
Wed 23 Sep: Scotland v Japan, Kingsholm (kick-off 2.30pm)
Sun 27 Sep: Scotland v USA, Elland Road (kick-off 2.30pm)
Sat 3 Oct: South Africa v Scotland, St James Park (kick-off 4.45pm)
Sat 10 Oct: Samoa v Scotland, St James Park (kick-off 2.30pm)