Former Southern Knight Rory Darge believes Scotland’s two pre-tournament visits to France this summer will stand them in good stead for the upcoming World Cup.

The Scots stayed at their World Cup training base near Nice in late June, and they returned there last week for four days to further acclimatise and familiarise themselves with the facilities and surrounding area before travelling north to Saint-Etienne for Saturday’s agonising 30-27 defeat against Les Bleus.

READ MORE: Sanjeev Kohli and Jane McCarry coming to the Borders

Gregor Townsend’s side are one of the only contestants to have spent time in the host nation in the months leading up to the global showpiece, which gets under way in less than four weeks.

Darge believes their stints in the French heat will help them feel at ease when they fly back out to Nice on September 3 to step up preparations for their tournament opener against South Africa in Marseille a week later.

“It’s been huge in terms of our preparations, it’s been ideal,” said flanker Darge.

READ MORE: DRUFC Has Beens plan open water swim for Doddie's foundation

“We’ve been in Nice before in the hotel that we’re going to be staying in at the World Cup, so it’s nice to get into the routine of it in terms of knowing what it looks like, getting the bus to training and back etc.

“We’ve been getting into the routine of what a match week will look like when we’re back out for the World Cup.

“The heat is a big factor as well so we’ve been trying to get used to that as much as we can.”

The Scots got an early flavour of what the atmosphere might be like in French stadiums throughout the World Cup as they encountered a partisan home support inside Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Saturday.

READ MORE: Man taken to hospital with serious injuries after 125-feet fall

“It was a special atmosphere, unbelievable,” said Darge. “You couldn’t hear much in the warm-up and then the anthems, as always, were unbelievable.

“Even at the start of the game (when Scotland were on top), the atmosphere didn’t die away. It was special to play in.

“It definitely whets the appetite to come back out and play more games in stadiums like this at the World Cup. We’ll not be up against a home crowd like that (in the group games), but I’m sure the atmosphere at the games will still be special.”